How to Check for Red Tide Conditions at Tampa Bay Beaches

Beaches in the Tampa Bay area experience various effects from the red tide, which could cause respiratory problems for people.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida – Planning a day at the beach soon? Before you go, take a moment to check the beach conditions.

As the red tide continues to impact some beaches in the Tampa Bay area, it’s a good idea to see if your intended destination is affected by harmful algal blooms.

Since June, the Pinellas County Health Department has issued a red tide health warning in effect.

The Florida Department of Health has issued a health advisory for several beaches in Tampa Bay due to high levels of bacteria in the water.

The health department advises against swimming at the beaches of Bahia, Ben T. Davis, Davis Islands, Cypress Point, EG Simmons and Picnic Island. Health officials say water samples showed higher than normal levels of enterococci bacteria.

The bacteria normally inhabit the intestinal tracts of animals and humans and can cause infections or rashes. According to health officials, the presence of the bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution – the result of runoff from stormwater, pets and wildlife, and human sewage.

RELATED: Swimming ‘not recommended’ at several Tampa Bay beaches due to high bacteria levels

As Labor Day weekend approaches, there are currently high current risk statements for Manatee County, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County and Sarasota County.

The National Weather Service has this advice: “Swim near a lifeguard. If you get caught in a rip current, relax and float. Don’t swim against the current. If possible, swim in a
direction along the shore. If you cannot escape, face the shore and call or wave for help.”

The map below, produced by the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS), shows a daily forecast of respiratory problems caused by the red tide. You can also see the map here.

Mote Marine Laboratory also has a beach condition reporting system. You can get the latest information here.

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