NewsLocal NewsIn Your Neighborhood Fort Myers Shores


“Gonna’ cruise out”: Toxic algae won't stop Fort Myers Shores weekend boaters

Despite Florida Department of Health warnings, locals still plan to launch boats out of the Davis Boat Ramp this weekend.
Posted at 6:23 PM, Apr 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-05 18:26:25-04

FORT MYERS SHORES, Fla. — With the perfect weather, many people are going to want to head out on the water this weekend. However, the Florida Department of Health says think twice because of blue-green algae blooms in the Caloosahatchee River

Fox 4’s Fort Myers Shores Community Correspondent, Austin Schargorodski, went over to Davis Boat Ramp to see if people were still taking their boats out. With a parking lot filled with empty boat trailers, it appeared it was still business as usual there.

The FDOH said blue-green algae blooms were detected at Telegraph Creek, Moody River, and in the Caloosahatchee. They’re warning people not go in the water because it could be toxic.

Yet, the sight of algae pooling against the dock's pylons at Davis Boat Ramp did not deter boaters. "Gonna cruise out and get to where we hopefully don't see any algae," stated one boater. Another one commented, “If you love to boat, that’s just an obstacle we gotta’ go through.”

"I've been seeing this my whole life, and I've been around a long time. So, it's just something you gotta' overlook."

Boater at Davis Boat Ramp, Fort Myers Shores

In February, I was in Clewiston, reporting on the U.S Army Corps of Engineers releasing water from Lake Okeechobee because the levels were too high. And earlier this week, Fox 4 Meteorologist Andrew Shipley took a boat ride to get a firsthand look at algae blooms in the Caloosahatchee River.

Bob Stewart, a resident, said he believes the water being released is dirty because the dying seagrass isn’t filtering it - and he says that may be causing the blooms.

"Let some of it grow to clean the water and be the filter it's supposed to be," Stewart suggested.

Phil Flood of the South Florida Water Management District stopped by Davis Boat Ramp to take some pictures of the algae conditions. He noted that many locations aren’t affected that badly and small flecks of algae are manageable.

Flood explained that the Water Management District keeps a close eye on the algae blooms in case they need to treat them, saying, “We use an Algaecide, and what we do is we broadcast it over the surface of where a bloom is, and it floats along the surface and will actually eat up the algae.”

Conditions at Telegraph Creek were milder than Davis Boat ramp with only small flecks in the water, but there were caution signs posted. Warnings on the sign told people not to swim or get water in their eyes, nose, or mouth, and to rinse and cook any fish thoroughly if they plan to eat them.

"I've been seeing this my whole life, and I've been around a long time. So, it's just something you gotta' overlook because you still got the beauty here," shared a boater.