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Canal Safety

Canal Safety

We are renting a house on a canal her on AMI in two weeks and were wondering if the canals have any issues with gators, snakes, sharks or any dangerous marine life as we are looking to swim in it. Thanks for the insight!

10 replies to this topic
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
9,543 posts
1. Re: Canal Safety

I wouldn't swim in it, not because of creatures in it, but because it isn't clear and clean as the gulf water.

Saint Augustine...
Level Contributor
661 posts
47 reviews
2. Re: Canal Safety

Assume any canal has gators and snakes. They aren’t for swimming.

Destination Expert
for Key West, Avalon
Level Contributor
1,882 posts
225 reviews
3. Re: Canal Safety

Gators usually stay in fresh water. But, sharks, snakes, etc. can get anywhere. Also, some of the canals have sharp oyster beds in them. And, boat traffic can be an issue. I lived on a canal in the area before and never swam in it or saw anyone swim in it.

upstate NY
Level Contributor
612 posts
11 reviews
4. Re: Canal Safety

I most definitely would not swim in a canal. The island is so small that getting from the canal side to the gulf side can be done quickly and without a ton of effort (assuming you have a beach cart or something to haul your towels, etc.) -- I'd much prefer the gulf.

Level Contributor
61 posts
80 reviews
5. Re: Canal Safety

Whilst I wouldn't swim in the canals and as identified already anywhere on the Island is never far from a pristine beach and azure blue waters (weather permitting of course!), plenty regularly kayak and paddle board in the canals. Sharks - never seen them in the canals, gators as far as I know come no-where even close by and you need to travel some distance from AMI to see even a small one! Snakes, yes did see a snake on AMI - once about eight years ago! I was told what it was called at the time, but essentially it was totally harmless. Never seen one again. The one I saw was land bound. Now in the canals I have seen manatees and dolphins....... oh, and I have seen people regularly swim in the canals at the top of AMI. I wouldn't, but people do and some years back a home north of Pine - possibly Jacaranda - had set up a large inflatable out in Lake Vista and children (and adults) regularly played and swam, others may recall more accurately. Now on land I have also seen tortoise quite regularly. Enjoy your holiday and have a great time on AMI!

St. Pete Beach...
Level Contributor
2,092 posts
52 reviews
6. Re: Canal Safety

The water quality in canals, even with the change of tides is questionable. Toxic fertilizer run off, storm drainage, oil from boats, sediment and other pollutants can be found in the water. As mentioned in another post, oyster beds can usually be found along the seawalls and are razor sharp. You will not see a gator, they are in fresh water, not saltwater. There is also the danger of boat traffic in the canal as a safety issue. You more than likely will not encounter sharks or sea snakes. There are some land snakes around that hardly anyone ever sees: rat snakes, ring neck snakes, garter snakes, Florida black racer. These are non venomous and good for the environment. You will not see them. You are in more danger swimming in contaminated water in the canal.

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
38,175 posts
11 reviews
7. Re: Canal Safety

Canal water is nasty stuff . That's a big nope.

There's a quote from a 80s-era movie (Porky's II) about canal water that always makes me chuckle....but also illustrates why you don't swim in canals.

United States
Level Contributor
7,109 posts
6 reviews
8. Re: Canal Safety

Oh my gosh, Sunshine, twice in a week!

I agree, and would not even stick my toe in canal water.

Level Contributor
1,379 posts
52 reviews
9. Re: Canal Safety

I think when you see the canal water you will see why you would not swim in it. The island is quite narrow and you are usually not far from the beautiful Gulf water.

Level Contributor
2,144 posts
10 reviews
10. Re: Canal Safety

I think once you see the canal water you'll hopefully nix that idea. I actually have nightmares about falling in the canal.

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