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Mechanical Beach Cleaning

Some large, flat sandy beaches use tractors and other beach cleaning vehicles to collect sargasso in large piles for collection and disposal.  A few years ago a Bobcat was deployed on the HMB beach for this purpose but the effort was quickly abandoned because: 


  1. During turtle nesting season there was a proven and unacceptable risk that the Bobcat would drive over and crush marked or unmarked turtle nests

  2. Mechanical shoveling of sargassum resulted in even more beach erosion than manual shoveling.  

  3. The incline of the beach made it difficult to stabilize and properly operate the Bobcat.  


Use of a beach cleaning vehicle also generated issues AROUND:

  1. Cost of labor and repairs

  2. Where and how the vehicle might access the beach

  3. Where the vehicle might be stored overnight and in the off season.



Conveyor belts have been suggested to replace the wheelbarrow transportation of the sargasso across the properties to waiting containers on the road.  This would speed up the process of taking the seaweed from the beach to the road.  

  1. It is still dependent on how quickly a person can shovel it onto the conveyor belt so the efficiency of shoveling it off beach will mostly continue as it is now. 

  2. Conveyor Belts along the bay require manpower and maintenance to operate. 

  3. Most properties don’t have enough space to run a conveyor belt system without compromising the ease in which owners and guests can reach the beach. 

  4. The visual impact of the systems along the bay.

  5. It will not eliminate the cost of disposal which is currently substantial.


The Grand Sirenis resort manages their sargasso by corralling the seaweed using barriers and then pumping the sargasso from a collection point (using a floating pump) up a long plastic pipe to the headland where it is sprayed over the rocks and allowed to dry before manually removing it and trucking it away.   We looked at this approach for HMB and decided that deflecting sargassum out to sea and/or manually collecting excess amounts from the southern headlands because:

  1. We don’t have unoccupied headland space to spray large quantities of sargasso onto. 

  2. If excess amounts of sargassum accummulate to such a degree that manual collection does not work, aA temporary zipline will be easier to install and remove than a pump and pipe system.

Wheelbarrow Sargassum.jpg
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