Red tide prompts postponement of annual Sea Ray event


MarineMax postponed its annual Aquapalooza to Sept. 1. The event, which was scheduled for this past weekend, was to take place near Jewfish Key in Sarasota Bay and had been expected to attract about 300 boats.

“Usually the water is pretty nice; it's crystal blue and clear. It doesn't look anything like it does today,” Jason Lefevre, who works at MarineMax’s Sarasota location, told

Thousands of dead fish and murky water prompted organizers to reschedule Aquapalooza to Labor Day weekend. “We look at the reports from Mote Marine, and we talked to some people over there,” Lefevre said. “We decided for the safety and the overall smell and atmosphere that it would probably makes sense to postpone the event.”

Lefevre told local news outlets that MarineMax typically showcases the New Pass sandbar to the hundreds of visiting boaters. “We use this event to celebrate Sarasota,” he said.

Water conditions in Sarasota Bay have improved since last Friday. By Sunday, there was less dead sea life, and the water was clearer, though still not its usual color. Lefevre said MarineMax is expecting a larger crowd at Aquapalooza over the Labor Day holiday, with about 500 boats anchored out.