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Fecal Bacteria in Water Thwarts Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta In Cape Coral

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Cape Coral Cardboard Boat Regatta
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

If you had thoughts of racing in or watching the annual Cape Coral Cardboard Boat Regatta, think again. It’s been canceled. Click here to listen to the radio version.

The Rotary Club of Cape Coral had to officially cancel this year’s Cardboard Boat Regatta because of high concentrations of bacteria from fecal matter.

Recent water tests of Cape Coral’s Bimini Basin, where the annual race is held, found high levels of fecal bacteria and E. coli.

Because of that the regatta can’t be held in its traditional location, originally scheduled for April 21.

Tim Hauck, with the local Rotary Club, said there were talks of maybe finding another venue, but no place compares to the Bimini Basin. 

“We really didn’t feel that we could find anything that was suitable to attract the crowd that usually comes,” he said.

Hauck said each year, the regatta attracts about 3,000 people and can raise up to $10,000

Connie Barron, spokeswoman for the City of Cape Coral, said now they need to figure out what exactly caused the high amount of contamination.

"I think there is some belief that the boats that are mooring in the Bimini have contributed to the higher levels," she said. "Which is possible and it seems like a reasonable assumption to make." 

But, the city wants to know if that’s the only source. They also want to see if there’s a trend in historical data.

For now, spokeswoman Barron said the city will test the Bimini Basin more frequently to monitor bacteria levels.

She said the issue probably won’t be resolved for another few months or so. 

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Quincy Walters is a reporter and backup host for WGCU.