Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Offshore Powerboat Association Racing Returns to Englewood Beach

ENGLEWOOD, FL – The world’s fastest show on the water returns to Englewood Beach on Nov. 19-22 with an action-packed, four-day festival of family-friendly events. With more than 50 world-class teams competing for national and world championships titles, the event is expected to attract thousands of spectators over the course of the weekend.

The Englewood Beach Racefest kicks off at 11 a.m. Thursday along Manasota Key, where the super boat teams will begin testing their watercraft in preparation for the weekend races. Guests can meet the racers, get close to some of the world’s fastest speedboats and enjoy several events over the race weekend. Evening activities include the OPA Racing block party that starts at 5 p.m. and includes a parade with the race teams along Dearborn Street in Englewood.

The festivities continue Nov. 20 at with the OPA National Championship races taking place at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. with awards at 7 p.m. The race village will be open all day Friday and Saturday for spectators to view the race boats and interact with the race teams.

Racing action continues on Saturday with timed trials on the Gulf between noon and 4 p.m., offering onlookers a sneak peak of Sunday’s world championship races. The day wraps up with a concert at the Englewood Event Center featuring Keith Anderson at 6 p.m.

The highlight of the weekend’s activities is Sunday’s world championship races, where super boats take to the water traveling at extreme speeds of up to 180 mph on a 2.5 mile liquid track. Spectators are invited to watch the races starting at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. As many as 50 teams will compete in the three races, which can be seen from Englewood Beach, Manasota Key and designated VIP viewing areas.

Race village passports can be purchased at the Englewood Chamber of Commerce or online at Passes include parking, bus transportation to the beach and access to the race village for all four days of the event and are $12 in advance or $15 if purchased after Nov. 19. VIP passes -- including access to the VIP tent with complimentary food and beverages provided -- also are available if purchased in advance. Due to limited access, vehicles will not be allowed to park at the beach. Parking locations with shuttle routes can be found at

Friday, November 13, 2015



Thanksgiving Week
Sunday, November 22nd through Friday, November 27th - 11:00 PM
Saturday, November 28th - Midnight
Sunday, November 30th - Resuming normal hours

Christmas Holidays
Sunday, December 20th through Wednesday December 23rd - 11:00 PM
Thursday, December 24th Christmas Eve -1:00 AM
Friday, December 25th Christmas Day -11:00 PM
Saturday, December 26th - Midnight
Sunday, December 27th through Wednesday December 30th -11:00 PM
Thursday, December 31st New Year's Eve -1:00 AM
Sunday, January 3rd - Resuming normal hours

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Red tide confirmed in Florida: What you need to know

Article courtesy of Robbin Madden

October 30, 2015
Suggested Tweet: The Florida red tide is naturally occurring and other facts you should know: #Redtide #FWCresearch #Florida
Red tide confirmed in Florida: What you need to know
Red tide is a naturally occurring, higher-than-normal concentration of microscopic algae. In Florida, the species that causes most red tides is Karenia brevis. This organism produces toxins that can affect the central nervous system of aquatic organisms such as fish and marine mammals. Red tide toxins also pose a human health risk. The toxins can aerosolize and be carried to beaches with onshore winds, leading to respiratory irritation in people. Toxins can accumulate in shellfish and result in illnesses if contaminated shellfish are consumed. Shellfish harvesting areas are closed when blooms are present.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) researchers are currently monitoring two blooms along Florida’s Gulf coast, one located in northwest Florida and the other in southwest Florida.
“We confirmed the presence of both blooms in September, and they have persisted since that time,” said Alina Corcoran, FWC research scientist. “The bloom in the Panhandle is currently affecting Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf counties. In southwest Florida, patchy blooms have been confirmed along Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties. Extensive fish kills and respiratory irritation have been associated with the bloom in the Panhandle but in southwest Florida the effects have been less.”
Red tide public health tips:
  • People in a red tide area can experience varying degrees of eye, nose and throat irritation. When a person leaves an area with a red tide, symptoms usually go away.
  • People with severe or chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic lung disease are cautioned to avoid areas with active red tides.
  • In some red tides, dead fish wash ashore; during these conditions it is advised that beachgoers avoid swimming in water where dead fish are present.
  • Pet owners are advised that red tide poses a risk to animals brought to the beach. If a pet swims in a red tide patch at the beach, rinse off its fur and paws as soon as possible with fresh water. Also, do not let pets eat fish or drink water from the red tide.
  • Recreational harvesting of bivalve mollusks such as hard clams, oysters and mussels from approved shellfish harvesting areas is banned during red tide closures. To determine whether harvesting of shellfish is permitted in an area, visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture website.
FWC researchers work closely with partners, including Mote Marine Laboratory, the University of South Florida, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture and NOAA, to track blooms, share information and develop products that help to inform both citizens and scientists about bloom conditions.
“Citizen scientists play a vital role in tracking blooms. Volunteers can provide the majority of water samples for bloom tracking in regions like the Panhandle,” said Corcoran.
For updated red tide status reports, to track blooms or learn more about red tide, To report fish kills to the FWC, contact the Fish Kill Hotline at 800-636-0511 or submit a report online.
Additional red tide resources: