Algae crisis not keeping some boaters from hitting the open water

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Video capture from video by Bryce Jackson

Boaters are taking notice to the algae problem, saying it’s difficult to find alternative places to launch their boat because of the algae.

And although it’s near the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, blue-green algae is starting to show up.

Punta Rassa is the only boat ramp Frank Hoff uses, “I can see it, but can’t smell it.” he says, “This is a visible concern here at the ramp because it does validate that it has made its way this far down the river.”

And when comparing this year to previous years, many say it’s significantly worse.

Boater Matt McMicken is concerned, saying, “This is a tremendous fishery and a lot of people come here to fish and enjoy it, but it’s just going away.”

But is it enough to keep boaters away?

“It’s still alive and well for boating. It’s not going to slow down boaters,” Hoff said. A statement county numbers would agree with, as vehicle traffic to the Punta Rassa boat ramp is up by 1,500 cars or boats this June when compared to last.

And while the algae is an annoyance to many boaters many say it won’t affect their time on the water.

McMicken said, “If you look out you can see the water moving under the causeway, so it kind of keeps the algae washed out. The place where you’re going to see a lot of the algae is around the canals and waterways where it doesn’t get a lot of tidal movement.”

Caloosahatchee River Algae Update July 15th 2018 from Bryce Jackson on Vimeo.

Algae impacts on health

Algae floating down a Cape Coral canal is what marine construction worker Kevin Schmaus said caused him to loose a week’s worth of work a receive a high medical bill.

Schmaus said he spent nearly eight hours in chest-deep water last week installing a dock.

“I was in the hospital, I took about five days off of work, I got bronchial infection, and I had a big fever,” Schmaus said.

Another construction company in Cape Coral said its employees have been coughing and complaining about the algae.

“It’s already a dirty job and then you have all this slime and gunk on top of the water, it doesn’t help things,” said Jimmy Williamson, vice president of Williamson Bros Marine Construction, Inc.

Williamson added if nothing changed, the blooms may cost the entire industry business.

“If somebody decides they don’t want to buy waterfront property down here because of it, it will eventually impact us,” Williamson said.

WINK News reporter Gina Tomlinson spoke with others about the possible repercussions of working near algae. Watch the full segment below:

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