TDC: We’re Open For For Business, But Prepared For Worst Case Scenario

by May 11, 2010 • 8 comments

On Tuesday, Mark Bowen, Chief of Emergency Services, accompanied by Lieutenant Caskey of the Coast Guard, met with the TDC and CVB to discuss plans of action in the event that the oil spill hit Panama City Beach’s shores. Chief Bowen answered questions and concerns from the board as well as from audience members in the attempt to reinforce the message that there is no impact on Panama City Beach, we’re open for business and that we are preparing diligently for that day if it comes.

The plans to manage the consequences of the event, if it happens, will consist of a booming strategy, a beach protection plan and finally, if needed, a comprehensive disposal plan of oils and any contaminated soils and sand. “We all have to understand,” Chief Bowen said, “that we are dealing with an opponent that we don’t understand fully. By the time the oil reaches the shore it will have endured so much dispersant, mixed in the salt water and moved that it will no longer be the oil that comes out of the tanker; it will be emulsified . I’m concerned with being prepared for what gets here and how to best deal with that. You have to know what your opponent is before you can best attack.”

Although the mood of the meeting was one of anxiety, Lieutenant Caskey acknowledged the fortunes of Panama City Beach. “Bay County has the most well-connected EOC around the Gulf.” He went on to say, “As it stand the slick is 70 miles south of Pensacola and moving west. We’re in a good spot.” As it pertained to the efforts of sealing the leak he said, “There has been talk of adding blow out preventers. And (trying the cap strategy again) coming up with a means of keeping the ice out of the dome with chemicals or by pumping fluid into it. If any part of the coast has oil or emulsion, we’ll have eyes on it.”

In the event that the oil reaches 72 hours to impact, the plan will go into action placing containment berms into the water, booms and skims in order to either trap the oil or steer it to vacant portion of the beach where it can be then disposed.

One part of the contingency plan that is still being developed is the disposal of contaminants. Steel Field Land Mill is working to get permits to accept contaminants if need be.

“We have experts, marine biology specialists and people ready for response and clean-up coordinated in the Unified Command in Mobile.”

The most important message in the meeting was to let the public know that Panama City Beach has received zero impact as is still ready and open for business. One member of the audience suggested that all hotels cooperatively agree to give full refunds in the event of oil to assure vacationers.

I think that’s a grand idea.

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1 Gail Raines May 11, 2010 at 7:13 pm

As homeowners in Laguna Beach but living in Chattanooga, TN, we want to be available for cleanup and worse case scenario. Please let me know how to get on the volunteer distribution so that they will contact me and my husband (Royce) if we need to get down there to help. Thanks!
Gail Raines


2 Chasity May 11, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Just curious if all your hotels are going to follow the idea that if the oil does come to PCB will you refund your vacationers? My family and I are wanting to come next week and we have already cancelled on hotel reservation. Still VERY interested in come to PCB, just very nervous about rebooking.


3 Noel B. May 13, 2010 at 8:18 am

Hi Chasity,

Almost all hotels and vacation rental agencies are offering “clean beach” guarantees. I encourage you to re-consider your visit. Examples:


4 Jan May 12, 2010 at 6:56 am


As far as I know now, Edgewater is refunding if oil comes here. Most of the other ones will give you a $200 credit towards the future, which I don’t think is good enough. They call it the “Vacation Guarantee”. I think they should follow Edgewaters lead and give you a full refund if things go wrong. These are just my opinions, but I seriously think that all will be well and we will see no impact, so please rebook and come enjoy your vacation!!!


5 Oaseas May 13, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Vacation Assurance Program at oaseas resorts properties. If your stay is interrupted by a beach closure you will be refunded and you’ll get $200 credit on a future stay. Visit


6 Z Clements May 18, 2010 at 7:17 am

We own and rent a condo at Boardwalk, and we are offering full refunds if the beaches are adversely affected by oil.

Visit our listing at

Come on down and enjoy the beaches!


7 Sharon Ernst May 18, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I would also be more than happy to refund anyone who chose to rent in my condo in Panama City Beach if oil should hit the shores.

Visit our listing at

Get on down to Panama City Beach and enjoy the beach & beautiful skies!


8 m luebbe June 3, 2010 at 11:16 am

My family is coming down June 26th and staying at the Aqua. If the oil does come in I hope we get a full refund. I just don’t know if it could get worse by that time.