Oil washing up on beaches after the containment dome fails

Louisiana - (NBC) - As oil continues to spread in thick toxic streaks across the water and toward fragile coastlines, BP is turning to plan B.

"They call it the top hat...because it sort of looks like a top hat it's a much smaller device, the intent there is to be able to either use hot water or methanol to stop the formation of the hydrates while we put this device on top of the leak point," said Doug Suttles of BP.

Hydrates, or slushy ice crystals, are what clogged that bigger containment dome this weekend, forcing engineers to set it aside. The new hope is that the new, smaller cap won't have the same problem. It could be deployed as early as Tuesday.

Along the shorelines, there is no waiting to see if the top hat fits. Fisherman are now laying protective barriers as if their lives depended on it, because they do.

"It's important to us, it's our livelihood, we're gonna get our hands dirty and we're gonna save our livelihood," said Captain Lane Zurlock , a fisherman.

On one Alabama beach, tourists were also getting their hands dirty, because of thick balls of oil that have now started washing ashore.

"I started looking around and they were just all over the beach like globs of tine black tar, and there's quite a bit of it," said beach-goer Charles Dawson.

The oil is showing up farther north than some had thought it would, a clear sign that the spill is spreading with the next chance at stopping the leak still at least a day away.

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