We care very much about the quality of your vacation and this page provides resources related to water quality.
If you do plan to visit and are looking for things to do other than the beach, please check out this list of things to do for an enjoyable visit.
Our team is in touch with the Florida Department of Health on a regular and ongoing basis, specifically regarding its Healthy Beach Sampling reports as the conditions of our local beaches are a top priority for Charlotte County. We will defer to that department on any questions about its most recent findings as we know conditions can change. However, as of the most recent water quality test on July 8, 2019, there are no advisories issued for Charlotte County and all water quality reports are classified as “good.”
As we understand it, it is not uncommon for naturally occurring bacteria such as this to be present in any warm body of water along the Gulf. We strongly encourage that visitors to all Florida beaches visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/beach-water-quality/index.html for up-to-date reports on water quality and contact the Florida Department of Health or CDC for more information about ways to prevent any bacterial infection while enjoying themselves this summer.
Group A Streptococcus & Vibrio
Group A Streptococcus (Group A strep) and vibrio are bacteria commonly found in warm salt and brackish waters. Following are resources to learn more about them and assist in having a pleasant experience at the beach and in the water.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Bacteria called Group A Streptococcus (Group A strep) can cause many different infections. These infections range from minor illnesses to very serious and deadly diseases." Learn more from the CDS's website.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "necrotizing fasciitis" (NECK-re-tie-zing FASH-e-i-tis) is a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly in the body and can cause death. Accurate diagnosis, rapid antibiotic treatment, and prompt surgery are important to stopping this infection. See a doctor right away if you have a fever, dizziness, or nausea soon after an injury or surgery." Learn more from the CDC's website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, "vibrio bacteria naturally live in certain coastal waters and are present in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer." Learn more from the CDC's website.
The Florida Department of Health has provided us with this document regarding necrotizing fasciitis.
Ask an Expert Q&A - "Flesh-eating Bacteria," from Sarasota Memorial Health Care System
The Florida Department of Health
Note: For tourism industry assistance/surveys go here: pureflorida.com/red-tide/
Red Tide Status Report (Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission)
Same-Day Beach Updates
Florida Department of Health
Gulf of Mexico Harmful Algal Blooms Bulletin and Forecast
NOAA Tides and Currents for Southwest Florida (bulletins/forecasts are issued twice weekly.)
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
The Florida Department of Health
Florida Sea Grant
Center for Disease Control
Red Tide Facts vs. Myth
This video by Collier County (just to the south) contains factual information about red tide.
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 Currents, Florida Healthy Beaches, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's Red Tide Page, and/or the Mote Marine/SoCool Beach Conditions site.
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 for the most part, and is predominantly on the east coast and 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.
Brown Tint in Water
Warning Flags at Beaches
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.
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.