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City and county leaders say they're ready if red tide shows up again

City and county leaders say they're ready if red tide shows up again
Posted at 6:35 PM, Oct 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-18 18:42:07-04

If it wasn't for a sign saying 'red tide may be present,' you wouldn't know Boynton Beach's Oceanfront park was shut down a few weeks ago. 

"We just love the weather down here," said Kevin Palmer. "We were a little bit worried about the fact that we wouldn't able to get in the water." 

Palmer is visiting Boynton Beach with his family from New York. 

Unlike a few weeks ago when the red tide was causing respiratory issues and closing down beaches throughout the east coast, red tide levels are very low at Oceanfront Park and most county beaches north and south of there. 

"We have been taking samples twice a week because we have been getting such great results in the low or not present category," said Deborah Drum, Director of Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management Department. 

The low levels are good news, but scientists at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute on the Treasure Coast say they're monitoring another round of red tide around the Florida Keys. 

Boynton Beach's Recreation Director Wally Majors said everyone knows what to now if red tide shows up again. 

"We have all of our signage ready, staff is a little bit more aware of the things to look for," said Majors.
Majors said he communicates on a regular basis with county partners. 

Palm Beach County's Parks and Recreation says lifeguard and are getting fitted for half face respirator masks and will each get a mask and goggle kit to be prepared for red tide. 

Locals like John Cotanch who moved to Palm Beach County to live in paradise already lived through it once recently. 

"I came over and sat, I just didn't go in the water," said Cotanch of Boynton Beach. 

But he hopes it doesn't return.

"As long as it's short term it's not that disappointing. I was afraid they'd close it down if it got that bad," he said.  

"Something like that could ruin it for everyone," said Palmer. 

Drum said they could reduce water sample testing to once a week until levels of red tide organism are no longer present.