Boaters volunteer to clean SWFL waterways during Clean Water Week

Published: March 20, 2021 9:26 AM EDT
Updated: March 20, 2021 9:42 AM EDT

It is Clean Water Week and the St. James City Boat Club is joining the Calusa Waterkeeper to help clear debris and test the quality of the water in certain spots.

On Saturday, members of the boat club headed to Picnic Island and many of the canals throughout St. James City and Flamingo Bay to pick up trash in the water.

Anyone with any kind of water vessel is welcome to join the cause.

Not only will boaters pull out any visible debris, but a Florida Fish and Wildlife Ranger will tag along to test water samples throughout San Carlos Bay.

This is the second annual St. James Boat Club Clean Water Week. They will be patrolling the water through Wednesday.

“We just want to do whatever we can to, to keep them as clean as possible,” said Peter Karas with the St. James City Boat Club. We always have this event at this point of the year. Because this is when usually we have the most visitors and we want to create awareness to our short-term visitors or long-term visitors or full-time residents.”

About 20 to 35 boats showed up to clean up Southwest Florida waterways on Saturday morning.

In addition to their time, the boat club is giving the Calusa Waterkeeper a $3,600 check to help maintain all the hard work they’ll put in during Clean Water Week.

The FWC and Florida Gulf Coast University are also involved in the clean-up.

Karas has a few pointers for boaters in the area to maintain clean water.

“If you see some trash, I mean, take a second and it only takes literally less than a minute, stop your boat and pick it up,” Karas said. “Or make sure when you go to go out in your boat that you don’t have any loose items. You know, when you hit the throttle, they all blow out. And we’ve all done that. Every one of us has done that.”

He said he hopes their efforts will create awareness.

“It’s the perfect time of year to do that,” Karas said.