About Red Tide

About Red Tide

Red tides have been documented along Florida's gulf coast since the 1840’s.

  • The Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, produces a toxin that may kill marine animals and affect humans.
  • A red tide bloom is a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga (plant-like organisms).

It is important to realize that many people still enjoy the beaches during red tides. Respiratory irritation and dead fish are not always present.

People may experience respiratory irritation (coughing, sneezing, and tearing) when the red tide organism is present along a coast and winds blow its aerosol onshore.

  • People with severe or chronic respiratory conditions are advised to avoid red tide areas.
  • Generally, symptoms are temporary.
  • Swimming in waters with red tide is safe for most people.
  • However, red tide may cause some people to suffer from skin irritation and burning eyes.
  • If you experience irritation, get out of the water and thoroughly wash.

Red Tide Updates

  • View current beach conditions as reported by Sarasota County Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources on their Sarasota County Red Tide Status and Response Dashboard. Similar information can be viewed on their website
  • Fish and Wildlife and Mote Marine have come together to create a Facebook page. "Like" their page for updates on their monitoring efforts for red tide and other harmful algal blooms in coastal Florida waters.
  • Please visit the FWC website for updates on the status of red tide in Florida: http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/
  • The latest red tide status reports from the FWC are also available by phone. Call 866-300-9399 at any time from anywhere in Florida to hear a recording about red tide conditions throughout the state. Callers outside of Florida can dial 727-552-2448. Standard calling charges apply.
  • For daily red tide beach updates visit Sarasota County's beach conditions report Web site, or call 941-BEACHES (941-232-2437 Press 1 for Sarasota County).