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NAPLES | Submerged Dangers: Hidden debris poses risks to beachgoers

FOX 4 explores under the water to see the debris that lurks beneath
Posted at 11:52 PM, Oct 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-09 23:52:59-04

NAPLES, Fla. — In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian's destructive path last year, remnants of debris have settled beneath the ocean's surface, posing potential hazards for unsuspecting beachgoers.

On Saturday, FOX 4 spent the morning with the Southwest Florida Open Water Swim Club to see how they are navigating the debris near the Naples Pier, just off 18th Street. There, our cameras caught a jagged piece of corroded metal protruded from the seafloor mere feet away from the shoreline.

"I think we just need to be more aware, just cautious," shared a couple sitting less than twenty feet away from the protruding metal.

"Yeah, that could definitely hurt somebody," added another beachgoer.

"I literally haven't gotten into the water since the hurricane," expressed another beachgoer, Abigail Carlton

Despite the lurking hazards, avid swimmer and Southwest Florida Open Water Swim Club member, Steve Hoberg, 77, still goes on his daily swims. Steve's swimming distances range from 5 to 10 miles a week. These days he says the water is mostly clear on his swims, but that wasn't the case in the immediate weeks after Ian.

"When you get a big hurricane here like Ian, there were cars, cement blocks, trees - big trees, and all kinds of things," recalled Hoberg.

Even though the hurricane passed over a year ago, remnants of the disaster continue to hide beneath the ocean's surface. Nevertheless, for dedicated swimmers like Steve, the joy of swimming outweighs the potential risks.

"I'm still enjoying swimming every day, so come down and swim with me," Hoberg invited.

Fox 4 reported just last week a reminder from Fort Myers Beach Town Leaders, still finding large debris in the sand, kicked back up after hurricane Idalia. Town leaders posting pictures of a truck full of trash and debris collected, advising beachgoers across Southwest Florida to wear shoes.