Algae bloom could have major impact on beach vendors

Algae bloom could have major impact on beach vendors
A no swimming sign posted on the beach in Gulfport means the beach vendor there can't rent personal water craft. (Source: John Fitzhugh)

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The flags are waving to attract customers to one Gulfport beach vendor, but there’s something missing.

The personal water craft that Jet Blast on the Beach would normally have out on the water are sitting in the grass.

Why? The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality put up signs Friday morning closing this section of the beach because of the ongoing algae bloom.

“That means we can’t put jet skis in the water,” said Noah Cox, assistant manager of Jet Blast on the Beach. “We can’t put workers out there, we can’t put customers out there. It means we can’t do business.”

As the Fourth of July gets closer, beach vendors are getting worried about the impact on their business.

“That’s easily our busiest time of the year renting jet skis,” Cox said. “There’s tons of people here and tons of people who are off work and out of school and want to have fun and want to rent jet skis, but if we can’t put them in the water then we can’t rent them.”

Jest Blast owner Duke Middleton said 40% of their business comes in July, so if the beach closure continues, it could have a serious impact on their bottom line.

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