The algae crisis on the Treasure Coast putting a major strain on businesses, especially with the big Fourth of July weekend looming.
For many, the impact is threatening their livelihood.
For charter captain Fred Newhart, Fourth of July weekend should be a blast.
“We usually do a full trip from dock in downtown Stuart, and return to the dock and watch the fireworks,” he says.
This year is different
“I never thought that this would be what would stop me,” Newhart says.
In fact, his boat has been docked for 3 weeks now - no passengers to be found.
Algae blooms taking both a financial and emotional hit for him and others.
“Just the other day I come down here and I literally broke down crying on my knees.”
Newhart estimates his losses at around $6,000 to $10,000 dollars last month alone.
Newhart got to voice his concerns to state politicians Friday morning, including Senator Marco Rubio.
The appearance came with mixed feelings.
“I really don't support any politicians and never really hold them in high regard, but it's never too late for a politician to be inspired and do the right thing.”
For Newhart, on a weekend we celebrate freedom, with his boat docked for now, Newhart says he's never felt more trapped.
“We’re celebrating our independence, and here I am, someone who my friends would say a month ago was living the American Dream, and it's over.”