Oil Spill Threatens Long-Running Business

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

For 84 years, people have lined up, beach towels and coolers in hand, excited to make the 11-mile boat ride to Ship Island.

Multiple generations of the Skrmetta family have taken the captain's seat, proud to show visitors and locals alike the beauty along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

"Born and raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, worked on the boat since I was a boy. Lived on the island with my aunts and uncles. My boys were raised on the islands," said boat captain, Louis Skrmetta.

But now as Skrmetta moves along the gulf, he can only worry about what's to come.

"If it goes long-term, it will be horrible," he said. "I don't know if things will ever be the same, if it is as bad as they say it is going to be."

The family was just at the point where they could see past those depressing post Katrina years, and now with this disaster upon us they feel as if they are living a bad dream.

04:07:21
It's sad we were so hopeful for a good tourist season and life getting better since Katrina, 5 years of that behind us and at this point it's almost like it's not happening...I don't know how to describe it we are just hoping for the best and praying for a miracle.

and that positive attitude runs in the family, as Louis' son Robert is enjoying what time he has left with the gulf as he knows it.

"Hoping the oil isn't out there when we get out there," said Robert Skrmetta, the fourth generation to run this business. "That's the only thing I"m praying for, and hoping people see the islands before the oil hits."

And as we made it back to the Gulfport harbor, the Skrmettas have to start the agonizing waiting game again, hoping they can make the trip again the next day.


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