"As it is almost impossible to fully prevent shoreline oiling during a spill. The responders approach to the cleanup of an oiled shoreline is as important as how they approach the containment and protection priorities. The need for responders and planners to think through cleanup methods in advance of a moving oil slick is critical. Several considerations must be made before a proper cleanup plan can be initiated. First, the type and quantity of the oil that will likely impact the shore must be determined. Oil types vary greatly and have a major influence on the degree of impact, ease of cleanup, and persistence of the contamination. For example, lighter fuels (diesel, home heating fuel and light crude oils) will evaporate quickly, but tend to be more toxic and penetrate the shoreline sediments to a greater degree. Heavy oils (bunker C, #6 fuel and heavy crude oils) are less toxic to shoreline ecosystems and do not penetrate finer sediments, but they are very persistent, difficult to clean, and may smother shoreline organisms. Second, the type of shoreline which is predicted to be impacted must be identified and mapped. Both state and federal mapping projects have successfully categorized much of the U.S. shoreline in terms of habitat sensitivity to spilled oil. The most widely used characterization scheme for shorelines is the NOAA Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI)."
USCG Sector Mobile Digital Area Contingency Plan: http://ocean.floridamarine.org/acp/mobacp/