Sargassum Seaweed

Oceans are home to a variety of marine algae, including sargassum seaweed, a naturally occurring seaweed that floats freely on the ocean’s surface that provides a crucial habitat for many marine species and is also an important element in shoreline stability. Over the past several years, South Florida has experienced high levels of sargassum in coastal waters and on local beaches. Excessive amounts of sargassum in populated areas are causing concern worldwide.

Maintaining our pristine beaches remains a priority for the City of Boca Raton’s Recreation Services Department not only for our marine life but for our residents and beachgoers.

Seaweed Cleanup 2Seaweed Cleanup

Cleaning up Sargassum 

The daily beach cleaning process begins after sunrise with a thorough search of the City’s beaches by personnel from Gumbo Limbo Nature Center to identify any new sea turtle nests from the night before or for hatchlings that may have hatched overnight and have not fully made it to the ocean. 

  • Parks maintenance crews cannot begin cleaning the beach until the Gumbo Limbo staff give approval to proceed. 
  • Once the turtle search is completed, our groundskeeper crews use utility vehicles to clear large debris and trash from the seaweed.  
  • Once the large debris/trash is removed, a tractor with a large rake mechanism makes passes along the beach and buries the seaweed as it progresses.     
  • The beach is cleaned daily, though at times crews are hindered by occasional equipment failures and an overwhelming amount of seaweed that is occasionally deposited during the change in tides and/or high winds. 
  • Cleaning is limited to the last high tide line and tractors are not permitted to clean the upper beach or dune line.