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Water Quality

We care very much about the quality of your vacation and, during this red tide bloom we have provided you with resources to find an alternative beach and additional activities you and your family can enjoy. We offer many opportunities away from the beach ranging from rides through a cypress swamp to free bicycle rentals for exploring Punta Gorda to visiting a native wildlife rehabilitation center.  

Unfortunately, we do not know when the red tide will subside. We live here and understand the disappointment, frustration, economic loss, and heartbreak this has caused our community and those, like you, who love the area as much as we do. If you choose to visit another time when conditions have improved, we completely understand and we look forward to the opportunity to welcome you.

If you do plan to visit and are looking for things to do other than the beach, please check out this short list of things to do for an enjoyable visit.  

(Aug. 6, 2018) The Florida Department of Health posts Beach Advisories on its website; currently there are no advisories. Advisories are posted on their website www.charlotte.floridahealth.gov.

Check the water quality of key locations by visiting Florida Health.

Red Tide

(July 31, 2018) The National Weather Service has extended its Beach Hazards Statement, including Red Tide Hazard, for the area through Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. View the bulletin on the National Weather Service website.  

(June 29, 2018) Charlotte County beaches are currently experiencing medium to high concentrations of red tide, which have brought along reports of fish kills and respiratory irritation. The latest Red Tide Status Report by The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission can be found here: http://myfwc.com/redtidestatus.

New reports are published Wednesdays and Fridays at 5 p.m.For more information on current beach conditions, visit:

The Beach Guy reports Englewood Beach conditions Monday - Friday at 8:20 a.m. ET on WENG (Englewood, Fla.). Listen locally on 107.5 FM or 1530 AM or online at WENGRadio.com or download the WENG app in the iTunes store. 

Same-Day Beach Updates: visitbeaches.org (Mote Marine/SoCool Beach Conditions Site).

Florida Department of Health's Florida Healthy Beaches

Resources About Harmful Algal Blooms

Gulf of Mexico Harmful Algal Blooms Bulletin NOAA Tides and Currents for Southwest Florida

Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Florida Algal Bloom Sampling Results 

Florida Sea Grant - Harmful Algal Blooms Affecting Florida's Coasts

Red Tide Facts vs. Myth

This video by Collier County (just to the south) contains factual information about red tide.

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In the Gulf of Mexico, red tide is typically caused by large concentrations of Karenia brevis, a microscopic algae. Medium- to high-intensity blooms can cause eye and respiratory issues in humans, and high concentrations can also cause fish kills. Humans can become ill from consuming oysters and shellfish that are harvested from an area under a red tide advisory. Keep in mind that red tide occurs naturally throughout the world. It is not known what, exactly, causes it.  Because it can occur in this part of Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission carefully monitor levels throughout the state on a frequent basis. It is important to note-- that a location that has no red tide one day, can have completely different conditions the next, as tides and winds can drastically shift a bloom in a matter of hours.  For the most up-to-date, accurate information, visit NOAA Tides and CurrentsFlorida Healthy Beaches, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's Red Tide Page, and/or the Mote Marine/SoCool Beach Conditions site.

Blue-Green Algae:

Cyanobacterial are a naturally-occurring part of the food chain. Non-toxic and normally not an issue, the algae changes from dilute, widely-dispersed blooms to thick scum layers along shorelines when there are excessive nutrients in the water (nitrogen and phosphorus) and when other environmental conditions (wind, excessive rain, concentration of nutrients, etc.) exist. This issue has not affected Charlotte County to date, and is predominantly on the east coast and, to a lesser degree, on the southwest coast where rivers and waterways connected to Lake Okeechobee (by the St Lucie Canal and Caloosahatchee River) have experienced excessive, nutrient-high water releases.

Resources: Department of Environmental Protection Algae Monitoring / Response

Brown Tint in Water:
This is normally caused by (harmless) tannin. The brown color in the water, particularly near the rivers, is often confused with something far worse, such as sewage or pollution, which couldn’t be farther from the case. The very thing that makes Charlotte Harbor one of the most productive marine estuaries in the country is the unique ecosystem created by three rivers emptying into the harbor.  It is completely normal for fresh waters rivers to have a brown tint, due to tannin being released by vegetation in and around the rivers as they travel to the bay.  When there is heavier rainfall, the increased volume of fresh water will reach further into the harbor, particularly on an outgoing tide.  This is a normal, natural cycle, and is nothing to be concerned about, particularly in Charlotte County, where both of the rivers are relatively natural and don't have many man-made modifications upriver.

Florida's Beach Warning Flag Program
Florida enacted a beach flag warning system in 2005 to inform the public daily about the presence of rip currents at public beaches. Rip currents may be present but not visible so it is very important to monitor the beach flag system when heading to the beach. 

Know the Flags
Yellow Flags: Be Aware and Cautious

Yellow flags mean rip current activity is expected. You should be cautious if entering the water, don't swim alone, and know what to do if caught in a rip current. 

Red Flags: Strong and Frequent Rips
Red flags mean dangerous rip current activyt is expected. 
The rip currents would be likely to be stronger and more frequent. It's recommended to stay out of the water. 

Double Red Flags: Water Closed
You could be arrested or fined for entering the water.

Source: floridadep.gov/fco/fcmp/content/beach-warning-flag-program

Spotlight

About the Charlotte Harbor Gulf Island Coast

Florida's premier year-round eco-tourism destination, Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, The Charlotte Harbor Gulf Island Coast, is known for its pristine, unspoiled beauty. The area has hosted seven major feature films, been featured on SAIL magazine's list of the "10 Greatest Places to Sail in the United States," ranked by Golf Digest as the "Third Best Place to Live and Play Golf in America," and rated by MONEY magazine as one of the "Best Places to Live in the South." For information about area events, activities and attractions, contact the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor and Convention Bureau, 1700 Tamiami Trail, Suite G-2, Port Charlotte, FL; 941-743-1900, or call toll free at 1-800-652-6090 for a free Visitor's Guide; or visit the Web site at CharlotteHarborTravel.com.