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Businesses working to sail past problems of red tide as crowds flock to Fort Myers Beach for the weekend

Posted at 3:46 PM, Mar 03, 2023

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — On Friday, what was blowing in from the gulf, was rattling flags and visitors with coughs and sneezes on Fort Myers Beach.

Visitors on the beach say they aren't unfamiliar with Red Tide.

“We have been in it before in Destin,” said one person on the beach.

Ryan Van Denabeele, Marketing Director for Salty Sam's Marina in Fort Myers Beach said you know it once you're in it. “Unfortunately, nobody likes to see dead fish or a little tickle in the back of the throat,” said Van Denabeele.

Salty Sam's, which had portions of its property destroyed by Hurricane Ian, seems to be back on its feet, welcoming guests back into their restaurant and sending customers on their pirate ship and dolphin tours.

Van Denabeele said unlike the damages done by Ian, they can't fix Red Tide with their tools. “It is kind of a mother nature type thing so you kind of just roll with the punches and try to load up the boat,” said Van Denabeele.

On Friday, Van Denabeele said customers also seem to be rolling with the punches. “I feel like conditions aren't perfect but I feel like people don't want perfect, they are understanding now,” said Van Denabeele.

Understanding that like the still sunken boats in the marina from Ian and the stench that has been blowing into the weekend, guests are still willing to hit the water.

“I think people are still kinda coming out and it kinda comes in waves some areas are worse than others," said Van Denabeele.