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Boat owners advised to remove vessels from waterways

In light of the oil slick spreading across the Gulf of Mexico, one Alabama community has advised, as a precautionary measure, that all private boat owners remove their vessels from the waterways prior to the arrival of any approaching pollution from the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

In a statement released this week, City of Orange Beach officials say the measure is in no way discouraging recreational boating in the open waters, but is only advising against the leaving of vessels in water.

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Elsewhere, the Florida Keys & Key West tourism council has added a component to its Web site to provide up-to-date information regarding the oil spill in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The site features National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oil slick trajectory maps, as well as a Q&A advisory regarding the oil and its proximity to the Florida Keys.

Updated daily, the 72-hour forecast maps plot and project approximate positions of the oil slick. The latest forecast shows little movement from northern Gulf waters.

"Our visitor centers and hotels have been receiving phone calls from vacationers concerned about traveling to the Keys," said Harold Wheeler, director of the Keys tourism council, in a statement. "We understand their apprehension and wanted to provide a trusted information resource based on information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other official sources."

Marine products manufacturers are also trying to connect with recreational boaters in light of the spill.

Marine paint manufacturers Interlux and Awlgrip are offering tips for cleaning contaminated boats in the region.

The surface of antifouling paint that has become contaminated with oil can become "blocked," preventing the biocide from being released and leading to premature fouling, according to the manufacturers. It will also result in a contaminated layer that will make adhesion of new antifouling applications difficult.

For hard polishing and ablative antifouling paints that have been heavily contaminated, the best method is to use a paint-stripper to remove all the pollution and the paint from the bottom, then scrub the substrate. Rinse with fresh water and repeat until the surface is clean.

Sanding or sand blasting a surface that still has oil on it may drive the oil into the surface and cause a loss of adhesion of the subsequent coats.

Contaminated topcoats should be cleaned as soon as possible to minimize the damaging effects of the crude oil. In the case of heavy contamination, the material may be a thick, sticky tar-like material.

It is recommended that these surfaces first be cleared by wipe-down, followed by power washing and then cleaned. Do not allow detergent solutions to dry on the surface.

Contaminated waste water should be collected per local marina guidelines, local authority regulations and/or Clean Water Act requirements.

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Centek Industries is promoting three products to help contain and clean up oil in the contaminated areas.

The Sheen Devil, Terraguard and Versimat are infused with patented Mycelx, which binds on contact with hydrocarbon pollution and does not absorb water.

For more information about Centek Industries oil spill containment and cleanup products, call (229) 228-7653.

Click here to download a fact sheet about the products.