Reddish water fills and splashes through the tide along the Southern Florida Coastline.

This reddish water is known as the red tide. The red tide is a discoloration of seawater caused by a bloom of toxic red dinoflagellates. Dinoflagellates are a single-celled organism with two flagella, occurring in large numbers in marine plankton and also found in fresh water. The red tide cells get caught in currents that move the cells of toxic from the Gulf of Mexico, around the tip of Florida and up the east coast via the Gulf Stream.

The red tide has many affects not only to the organisms that live in the ocean, but to the humans that visit and swim in the Gulf. Some of the red discoloration throughout the water are the marine organisms’ blood who have been affected.

According to, “The harmful toxins that caused respiratory irritation in humans can cause deaths with various marine life. In addition to killing many fish and contaminating shellfish, K. brevis blooms can kill marine animals including dolphins and endangered manatees.”

However, with fall break coming up for most schools, a lot of people are wondering if they are going to have to change their plans due to the danger of the red tide. People who are planning on traveling to Florida want to know if the ocean will be safe enough to swim in.

According to, “Swimming is safe for most people. However, the Florida red tide can cause some people to suffer skin irritation and burning eyes. People with respiratory illness may also experience respiratory irritation in the water; use common sense. If you are particularly susceptible to irritation from plant products, avoid an area with a red tide bloom. If you experience irritation, get out of the water and thoroughly wash off. Do not swim among dead fish because they can be associated with harmful bacteria.”

Before you go on break, make sure you do your research if you are traveling around the Florida areas. Stay safe, be smart, and have fun!


Story by: Lucy Tubbs