Boat cleaning and storage business in danger of going under - - The News for South Mississippi

Boat cleaning and storage business in danger of going under


By Doug Walker – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - There is a job that David Harris would like to be doing a lot more these days, washing down boats and getting them ready for dry storage. No boats going out means nothing to clean. They just sit there unused, stacked four stories high.

Harris said business has virtually dried up.

"Fourth of July we expected to put in 40 boats; we put in four. Today I haven't had anything to do," Harris said. 

The reason for the lack of business is no surprise, and Harris said there's no end in sight.

"We have the oil here, and they've shut off all the water and closed the booms in many places," Harris said. "So people can't get out and do anything with their boats." 

The rest of the harbor is quiet as well. No fishing from the pier, and boat launches sit unused.  What little work does need doing, Harris does by himself and the impact of this spill continues.  Harris is worried not only about his future but also the future of his employees. They may end up losing their jobs.  

"We usually employ a few younger guys who are high school or college aged in the summertime to help wash boats that come in, and of course, there haven't been any jobs for them all summer," Harris said. 

It's a family business, and upstairs, mother Melba works on the books. But there is a lot less paperwork now. And customers are floating away slowly.  

"We've had a few leave because of the oil spill, so we're missing that part," Melba said. 

Also missing is an upbeat attitude. If the impact from the spill lasts for months or even years, the boats may have nowhere to go for a very long time.

The Harris' also own and operate the restaurant next door. Business there has dropped dramatically, as well, since the oil spill began on April 20th.

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