No-swim advisory issued for the Yacht Club Beach
A do-not-swim advisory has been issued at the Yacht Club Beach due to high levels of Enterococcus and coliform bacteria.
The Lee County Health Department said Wednesday that the bacteria, normally found in the intestinal tracks of humans and animals, are usually associated with an increased risk of swimming-associated gastroenteritis illness like diarrhea and abdominal pain.
City spokeswoman Connie Barron said people can still sunbathe, but is “strongly” suggesting that people stay out of the water.
“It does happen at this time of the year. It’s hot, you get heavy rains, different tidal flows, and fertilizer run-offs,” Barron said, adding most of the pollutants come from upstream.
“There’s nothing the Yacht Club can do to prevent it, it’s not something the city has control over,” Barron said.
The Yacht Club Beach was virtually empty on Wednesday night, as signs warning of the health hazards dotted the the beach’s entire expanse.
Paul Hunter of North Fort Myers was still out and about, using his metal detector to seek out treasures.
He said he would have waded into the water despite the warnings, but felt his wife would have been upset if had done so.
While not concerned about the overall condition of the water, Hunter did say he felt as if there wasn’t enough information available.
“They’re not being very specific about the problem. There’s very little information to go on,” Hunter said. “But I’m not too worried about it. I use my metal detector here a lot. I’ll be back.”
Betty Serrago, co-owner of KC’s River Stop, said the warning signs were on the beach when she opened for business Wednesday morning.
While not good for business, Serrago did say that rain and the return of the school year had also put a damper on the number of people who visited KC’s on Wednesday.
“I think it’s good that it happened this week and not last week during the end of the kids’ summer break,” Serrago said. “But this is always a slow week down here anyway.
Another test is due to be conducted soon, with the results due Tuesday, Aug. 31.
Until then, it’s recommended that people do not swim at the Yacht Club Beach.