PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Organizers of the Clearwater Super Boat National Championship on Clearwater Beach say the event will go on, despite red tide in the area. Organizers say since Clearwater Beach is not showing many of the effects of red tide, it will not impact the race or spectators.
The impacts of red tide are returning to some parts of Pinellas County, as a strong sea breeze is bringing back some of the toxic algae closer to shore. High levels of red tide were found Thursday at Madeira Beach, Redington Beach and Indian Rocks Beach, Pass-A-Grille also reported fish kills.
However, beaches in the northern part of the county weren't seeing any effects of red tide. The water near Clearwater Beach was clear Thursday and there were no dead fish present.
The Clearwater Super Boat National Championship brings more than 150,000 people to Clearwater Beach and has an economic impact of $20 million dollars. Clearwater Beach businesses are rejoicing because they have suffered big losses from the red tide, even when the toxic algae bloom wasn't directly impacting their beach.
Nicholas Hunt, who works at Clearwater Beach Waverunner Rentals says he's had many cancelations in the past few months.
“Instead of just seeing cancelations we are simply seeing the lack of business now," he said. Hunt’s jetski business is so slow that he passes the time scrubbing the dock.
At Sta and Pla Motel, Steven Phillips is rejoicing because, for the first time in weeks, their hotel is well booked this weekend.
“Oh yeah! We’re really excited about it,” Phillips explained.
Race organizers tell us the red tide won’t impact the main three boat races on Sunday, but they’ll continue to monitor red tide conditions throughout the weekend to keep everyone safe.