A Boating and Angling Guide to Tampa Bay A Boating and Angling Guide to Tampa Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Logo Tampa Bay Estuary Program Logo Florida Department of Environmental Protection Logo Sport Fish Restoration Logo Southwest Florida Water Management District Logo
About This Guide
Safety and Courtesy
Share the Road
Boat Ramps
Paddling Trails
Natural Resources
Managed Areas
Resource Directory
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Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission

Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission
100 Eighth Avenue SE
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Tampa Bay Estuary Program
100 Eighth Avenue SE
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Tampa Bay Estuary Program License Plate
Funding for this project was obtained through Tampa Bay Estuary Program specialty license plate funds.

Sport Fish Restoration Logo
Additional funding for this project was obtained through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Fund.
Boating Banner
In addition to being considered the fishing capital of the world, Florida can also boast that it is the boating capital of the United States. During the years 2007 and 2008, more than 900,000 pleasure boats were registered in Florida. During this same time, over 100,000 of those were registered in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Manatee counties.

Boaters in Tampa Bay take advantage of the opportunities for spending time on bay waters. Many boaters flock to barrier islands to spend time playing on the beach and soaking up the sun. Others spend time stalking fish on the grass flats or participate in sailing regattas. Paddlers travel around the bay observing local wildlife.

This section of the Web site provides boaters information about safe boating, sharing the road with cargo and passenger ships, DEP-designated Clean Marinas, public access boat ramps, and managed and marked paddling trails.

Boating safety education requirements
Boat operators who were born on or after January 1, 1988 must have a Florida Boating Safety Education Identification Card in order to operate a motorboat with ten horsepower or more. The requirement to take an approved boating safety course and to obtain an FWC-issued identification card will not change, but the age threshold for the educational requirements will now be based on whether or not you were born on or after January 1, 1988.For more information about boating safety education requirements, visit FWC Boating Safety and Education.

Seagrass Scarring
More than 80 percent of all recreationally and commercially important fish species are dependent upon seagrass at some point in their lives. Seagrass improves water quality, traps sediment, provides shelter for many juvenile fish species, and provides a food source for other marine life. Avoid damaging seagrass by knowing your boat’s operating depth and navigating in marked channels. Anchor only in bare sandy bottoms. If you run aground in shallow water, stop and pole your boat into deeper water.

photo of seagras scars inside a seagrass bed
Destruction of seagrass in Aquatic Preserves is a violation of Florida Law and carries a penalty of up to $1,000.00.

For more information about boating and boating safety, please visit the following Web sites:
FWC, Office of Boating and Waterways
U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this Web site, please e-mail us at Boating_Guides@MyFWC.com.

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