Boaters soak up the sun despite oil in the Sound - - The News for South Mississippi

Boaters soak up the sun despite oil in the Sound


By Jessica Bowman – email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - With tar balls washing ashore some boaters are taking their holiday weekend out on the lake. The Sound is still open to boaters, but fishing is off limits, and some would just rather be in a clean area.

"You're going to see a lot more people in the back waters now that you're limited to what you can do in the Gulf," said Ray Easterling.

The parking lot is full of empty trailers, as lines of people wait to launch their water craft into the Gulfport Lake. Easterling said it's nice to be in the water without seeing emulsified oil.

"It's ridiculous. It really is. I mean it's upsetting, but at least we have this [Gulfport Lake] right now," said Easterling.

Officials from the Department of Marine Resources said inland waters are crowded, but there are still a number of boaters in the Sound this holiday weekend. It seems as though long time boaters are taking full advantage of the islands being open and are taking alternate routes around the booms to reach their destination.

"I think it's going to put a little damper on things," Susan Gregory said.

Gregory said if people wanting to steer clear of the oil decide to boat on inland waters, there are a few down sides if you own a larger boat.

"They won't be able to run as far as they like. They're going to have to be more careful of shallow water here in the lake are and up the rivers," Gregory said.

Sound or not, people on the coast have been enjoying the waters for many years and plan to continue to do so.

"We're a bunch of boaters," Easterling said. "We love our water and this is what we do."

DMR officials said according to current numbers, there were more people in the Sound on Saturday than inland waters.

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