“So that guy that got hauled out of Lake Eola the other week … what happens to him now? Community service?”

– Bungalower Reader

An unnamed man was pulled from Lake Eola on Sunday, March 31 after successfully swimming to the fountain before being hauled out of the water by the Orlando Fire Department. We say “successfully” loosely as nobody really succeeds after jumping into that water.


Besides the clear yuck factor, it’s definitely against the rules.

According to Sgt. David Baker with the Orlando Police Department, the act of swimming in Lake Eola is a misdemeanor violation of a City of Orlando ordinance.

We spoke with a local judge who told us that violating this specific code will likely result in the offender being targeted for a mental evaluation and a number of fines; $100 plus court-mandated costs, or about $500 total. With the added request that they pay $20 a month towards the fine.

Why so lenient? Because they will assume you are clearly mentally unstable for jumping in that water.

” Every judge would try to impose minimal pressure on someone so apparently vulnerable.”

– Local judge

That ordinance, “Sec.35.02. – Bathing or Swimming Prohibited,” restricts bathing or swimming activities in any lake that is located within city limits, not just Lake Eola. These restrictions do not apply to privately-owned beaches, however, where the owner of the abutting property owns the lake bottom immediately adjacent to the swimming area, but since that doesn’t apply to public land-locked Eola; it’s a no-go zone.

Lake Eola is kind of filthy and is treated as “contaminated waters” if anyone comes into contact with it, including City employees who after this recent incident had to be tested since one of the divers had his mask knocked off while removing the guerrilla swimmer.

The lake, which is dyed blue-green to block sunlight from promoting algae growth, receives the majority of Downtown Orlando’s stormwater runoff, and everything from within 331-acres of the lake eventually finds its way there. And that means more than straws wash into that lake, in high temperatures, Orlando residents need to be wary of freshwater amoebas and high bacterial levels in all local bodies of water, but couple that with runoff after Cinco de Mayo and you’ve got quite the sinkhole soup.

And besides being deemed unfit for swimmers, the fountain has a 3,000-pound underwater intake pump that sucks in water from below and pumps it 60-feet into the air at timed intervals throughout the day. That pump is so powerful, that it could easily pull a swimmer underwater and drown them if they get too close to the fountain.

In the mid-1990s, when the pump was first installed, it sucked fish into the intake pipe and spewed out sushi all over the lake like a Sharknado sequel.

So all that being said, maybe just admire Eola from afar and swim at your own risk.

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