Red tide advisories not keeping beachgoers off the sand in Southwest Florida

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

From St. Petersburg down to Naples, red tide is ramping up. Lee and Collier counties have issued red tide advisories, warning people to expect some respiratory issues at the beaches.

Red tide alert sign. (Credit: WINK News)

The red signs at the beach are a warning of red tide. Reactions from beachgoers on Tarpon Bay Beach vary.

“I immediately saw that, so that caused a red flag for us if you will,” said Bridget Cloutier, visiting from Maine.

“You know, think about this and a little about that and then saying I can’t pass this good day,” said Joe Bondi, visiting from Maine.

It was a beautiful, sunny day for laying on the beach on Thursday, but the signs made some wary of a swim.

“I saw a bunch of people in the water. Wanted to go in myself, but obviously, with the red tide and whatnot, I’m like afraid that it’s going to happen if I go in,” said Casey Cloutier, visiting from Maine.

Red tide map for Thursday, February 23, 2023.

The red tide didn’t stop Bondi from taking a dip, though. “We dunked and then came out and then dunked again. And we did a few dunks.”

Kathleen Hawes, from Vermont, also wasn’t deterred, although she did her best to stay above the water. “Well, paddling, I guess I won’t be in the water.”

Gerri Chaplin, from Chicago, had no complaints of respiratory irritation that is commonly associated with red tide. “I’m not having much trouble now.”

Dr. Mike Parsons from the Water School at FGCU explains red tide can be patchy and dynamic. “So you may be at one beach, you may see dead fish, your eyes might be watering, your throat burning, you can just hop in your car, or even walk down the beach, and you will find a good patch of sand, good water.”

Once you find that perfect spot, you can enjoy Florida’s year-round warmth.

You can find an updated map of red tide along the Southwest Florida coast by clicking here.

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