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Boat Cleaning Businesses Feel the Heat: The Challenges of Contaminated Waters in Stuart, Fla.

Stuart business owners facing challenges due to Lake Okeechobee water releases

Boat Cleaning Businesses Feel the Heat: The Challenges of Contaminated Waters in Stuart, Fla.

The murky waters of Lake Okeechobee are causing a decline in business for boat cleaning services in Stuart, Fla. This is particularly affecting Barracuda Dive Service, owned by Russell Singson. The contaminated water has reduced visibility underwater, making it difficult for divers to do their work efficiently. As a result, Singson and his divers have had to take extra precautions with sanitation after diving, concerned about potential infections from the contaminated water.

At the Helm Training, located along the St. Lucie River, has also seen a decrease in bookings due to concerns about water cleanliness. Operations Manager Nancy Husk noted that clients are avoiding water-related activities due to fears of the water quality, recalling the severe algae bloom in 2018. Both Singson and Husk hope for a change in the Army Corps of Engineers’ approach to water releases from Lake Okeechobee, with the anticipation of a plan to reduce discharges and improve water quality.

The businesses in Stuart are hopeful that these changes will be implemented soon to mitigate the negative impacts on the local economy and community. Despite this decline in business, Singson remains optimistic that once the water clears up, his business will bounce back. He plans on investing more resources into marketing and promotions to attract new customers once the waters become clear again.

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