2 of 5
BACKNEXT
'It's the fear of the unknown'
'It's the fear of the unknown'

Pat Pigott
Owner, Get Wet Inc.
Biloxi, Miss.

If oil starts washing ashore on the beach at Biloxi, few visitors will want to plant their feet in the sand. Pat Pigott has been renting jet skis, catamarans, paddle bikes and umbrellas on the beach for more than 25 years. He's survived Hurricane Katrina and a few other storms, but this is the first time he's faced a manmade disaster on the beach.

"It's the fear of the unknown," Pigott says. "With a hurricane, you basically know what's going to happen. We just don't know what's going to happen with this."

Business has already taken a nosedive: By midday Tuesday, Get Wet had only made $40 from a couple of customers. A week earlier, sales were twenty times higher.

Pigott estimates that he has more than $200,000 invested in his jet skis and equipment. With notes to pay on the jet skis and little revenue coming in, Pigott says he's never been so worried.

The entire beachfront area of Biloxi was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Pigott says his business "barely survived." He held on for almost two years until he was able to open back up. As the hotels and restaurants started to rebuild and tourists trickled back to town, his sales began to pick up. Judging from April's revenues, Pigott thought 2010 was going to be the comeback year.

Whether or not much oil reaches the shore, Pigott fears that a tremendous amount of damage has already been done to the area's image.

"Even if by some miracle, they stop [the oil] and it goes another way, the stigma of something being in the water is going to slay us," Pigott says.

NEXT: Plan B ... and plan C ...

Email | Print | Share
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
LAST UPDATE: May 12 2010 | 11:22 AM ET
More Galleries
7 lifehacks to eliminate your holiday hassle Whether curating the perfect gift or finding a pet-sitter, these startups offer time-saving services that might just seem like holiday magic. More
San Francisco: The best city to make things From electric motorcycles to death shrouds, San Francisco's manufacturing sector is booming. More
6 designers shaking up fashion These designers are changing the way we dress, accessorize and shop, from custom made-to-fit dresses to smart jewelry that's actually stylish. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.