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Englewood Beach Waterfest will go on despite red tide levels

Englewood Beach Sunset
Posted at 7:00 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-15 19:24:27-05

ENGLEWOOD BEACH, Fla. — People on Englewood Beach Tuesday said that the effects of the red tide wasn't as bad compared to Monday.

This comes after the Charlotte County Health department issued a red tide alert for nearby Whidden Key and days before Englewood's annual water festival.

"Big difference, big difference,” said Joanne Johnson an Englewood resident. "We were here, we couldn’t get past the parking lot.”

A different feeling Johnson experienced compared to the day before, but Tuesday Johnson and her sister spent the day at the beach. They both said that they haven't really smelled or felt anything other than a little tickle.

“A little bit of a cough, not bad at all,” said Debra Sheedy, Johnson's sister.

Days ago, FWC reported high levels of red tide algae in costal waters including in Manasota Key. Red tide is a microscopic algae that produces toxins that kills fish but also can make it difficult to breathe.

“I have been doing a little coughing, but I was coughing before I came out here," said Christine Rupp a visitor from Ohio.

Charlotte County's health department issued a red tide alert for parts of the county warning people to:

  • Stay away from the water, and do not swim in waters with dead fish.
  • Those with chronic respiratory problems should be especially cautious and stay away from this location as the red tide can affect your breathing.
  • Do not harvest or eat shellfish or dead fish from this location.

However, Englewood's Waterfest will still go on. The president of the Waterfest, Stephen Graidner said he isn't concerned and is looking forward to the event.

“Those boats come from all over, they plan, and you know what it makes a lot of money for the town,” Johnson said.

"Why not, we have to have some type of normalcy around here," Rupp said.

“People can come down and check it out if they want to and if they are afraid, they can stay away," said Angie Jaegle, a resident of Englewood.

Gardiner said general admission will be free for anyone who lives in Charlotte, Sarasota, Lee and DeSoto counties.

Charlotte County's Water Quality manger Brandon Moody said the last sample from Englewood Beach was last Wednesday and another sample will be taken November 16th.