Clear Water Challenges: How Lake Okeechobee’s Murky Waters Affect Dive Businesses and Training Centers

Stuart business owners feeling the effects of Lake Okeechobee water releases

Diver Russell Singson, owner of Barracuda Dive Service in Stuart, is facing a decline in business due to the murky waters from Lake Okeechobee. The water has decreased visibility significantly, making it challenging for his team to clean boats efficiently. This has resulted in smaller paychecks as they can’t service as many boats in a day.

Singson revealed that sometimes they have had to completely take off work because the water is so murky that they can’t see anything underwater. About 50 boats are currently waiting for cleaning services, putting a strain on the business. In response to the unclear water, Singson and his team are taking extra precautions with sanitation after diving to avoid infections.

Nancy Husk, Operations Manager at At the Helm Training located down the St. Lucie River, also feels the impact of the discharges from Lake Okeechobee. Her bookings for trainings have decreased by 50% compared to the previous year due to concerns about water cleanliness. Customers are apprehensive about being in the water, especially after recalling the severe algae bloom in 2018.

Husk expressed worry about the future if the discharges continue, especially for younger clients who enjoy renting boats and going to sandbars. She hopes that the Army Corps of Engineers will adjust their approach to releasing water, which may help alleviate the impact on local businesses like Barracuda Dive Service and her training center at At The Helm Training. Both Singson and Husk are concerned about the economic and environmental implications of ongoing discharges and hope for positive change soon.

Sophia Reynolds

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