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Lingering effects from Tropical Storm Eta could negatively impact boaters and beachgoers

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission advises on what to look out for if you plan on hitting the water or beach this weekend.

TAMPA, Fla. — With a weekend of beautiful weather ahead of us, heading out on a  boat or to the beach might seem like an attractive option.

But it's important to remember the effects of Eta are not gone as areas across Tampa Bay are still working to clear debris on land and by sea.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has recommendations on how to stay safe while having fun this weekend. The first is maintaining a 360-degree awareness, especially after severe weather. 

“So with that, you want to make sure you're paying attention to your surroundings, with hurricanes and strong storms, the tides, it can shift sandbars and things like that," said Bryce Phillippi with FWC.

It’s not just sand that moves around as items that were picked up by storm surges don’t just disappear. "You could have wood from docks, branches from trees," Phillippi said.

When large items are found in the water that could possibly be a hazard, the U.S. Coast Guard will put out a notice to mariners. 

So, if you notice something, you're asked to report it to either FWC or the Coast Guard to help keep other boaters safe.

As for the beaches, the same rules apply. Plus you want to keep an eye out for dangerous bacteria levels.

“See if there's any hazards, as far as like bacteria levels or anything like that. Just check the beaches, there's certain ones that you know, with runoff, it could be a little bit more," Phillippi explained. "So, you just kind of want to check that before you go."

 You can check the Pinellas County bacteria level updates here.

While it might be too soon to know if there are high levels from Eta runoff through the website, since the Florida Department of Health checks the levels of bacteria at each beach approximately every two weeks, keep a lookout for signage at your favorite spots.

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