Missing buoys worry boaters and swimmers

NAPLES

Many boaters and swimmers now worry about their safety as they say they are missing important landmarks in the water. Now they are wondering if something will be done to replace the buoys on Lowdermilk beach.

Apart from a single buoy still on the water, nothing tells people where swimming ends and where navigation begins.

A man swimming near Vanderbilt Beach was struck and killed by a boat in March 2020. Longtime boater Tony Kordowski says it’s his biggest fear. “We don’t want to be near the swimmers and people shouldn’t even be swimming in the intercoastal or anywhere near, right near the shore where the boats aren’t doing well,” Kordowski said.

Jason Gibson works in concessions at Lowdermilk and worries we might see another injured swimmer, or worse, at the beach. “If you have a good swell and you’re out there at 2-3,000 feet, you can technically go under eye-to-eye on a boat and disappear,” he said.

“We had a swimmer, he was really far away every now and then, all I could see was a hand going up because his head was down and boats were passing in front of him, literally,” Gibson said.

The city of Naples told WINK News that there would be four buoys in the water at Lowdermilk, but storms washed them away.

Swimmer Carla Rodriguez says without the buoys she’s not sure where to go. “I mean I was trying to figure out how far I can swim because I can’t see anything, but I guess I can go as far as I want,” Rodriguez said.

She quickly decided not to do it when she saw the boats. “I’m used to other beaches here in the US that have given you some pretty well marked spots, but yeah, here I don’t know how close they can get.”

There are no signs and there are never any lifeguards, so neither boaters nor swimmers have any warnings or signs to beware of. WINK News asked the city about it and a spokesperson said they are encouraging parents to provide adequate supervision for their children and that life jackets are available for everyone.

The city of Naples has announced its intention to replace these buoys by next week.

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