Carmi, Illinois & Cocoa, Florida – Sargassum, a brown, stinky seaweed, is invading resorts and private beaches in the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida. This floating aquatic plant, also known as gulfweed or sea holly, is drifting up from the Sargasso Sea in ocean currents, and while it provides shelter for many forms of marine life, it has become a nightmare for the tourism industry.
The brown sargassum washes up on the shore and piles up, sometimes as high as 3 to 4 feet. This is normally a seasonal problem, but the longer length of the season and warmer gulf waters are increasing the amount of seaweed collecting on beaches. Once this invasive aquatic plant reaches the beach, it begins to decompose, emitting a dreadful odor.
Cleaning the sargassum from the beach is costly and disruptive to the tourism industry and to nesting sea turtles. From 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., noisy dump trucks haul the smelly sargassum from the resorts in an effort to clean the beaches for the next day’s beach-goers. Removing the sargassum from the beaches is a constant battle. The situation is resulting in unhappy tourists and devastated resort owners due to cancellations.
Elastec’s Duane Bennish Develops a Solution – ELASTEC Beach Bouncer Boom
Duane Bennish, Elastec Floating Barrier Division Sales Manager in Cocoa, Florida, visited properties in the Dominican Republic and Antigua to determine how Elastec could help solve the sargassum problem.
His solution – the ELASTEC Beach Bouncer – a new barrier designed specifically to deflect the sargassum and other floating debris from the beaches and direct it in the water where currents can carry it away.
The royal blue, heavy-duty polyvinyl chloride (PVC) floating barrier has a 3 ft. (0.9 m) mesh skirt hanging from a 12 in (0.3 m) float. The ELASTEC Beach Bouncer is available in 100 ft. (30 m) sections with an anchoring system included.
According to Bennish, “Elastec’s Cocoa group engineered and produced the Beach Bouncer in a little over a week to quickly respond to this mounting invasion – just in time for this year’s tourism season. Nothing gets past the Beach Bouncer!”