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
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Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission

Fish and Wildlife
Research Institute
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.
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Pleasure boats share bay waters with modern ships that haul cargo from all over the world.  While quite large in terms of the square miles it covers, the bay is also very shallow, which restricts navigation for larger vessels.  The average ship that calls on Tampa Bay is longer than two football fields.  A ship this size has limited ability to maneuver and stop in the narrow confines of Tampa Bay’s shipping channels. Most require a mile or more to come to a complete stop.
A cargo ship entering Tampa Bay near Egmont Key.
The pilots that guide these vessels in and out of Tampa Bay need your cooperation:

1. Stay clear of the main ship channel when large ships are approaching. Views from large ships may be obstructed up to three-fourths of a mile away.

2. Use VHF Channel 13 for bridge-to-bridge communication with commercial ships in case of emergency. Keep transmissions short and simple, and never tie up the frequency.

3. Exercise caution when boating around ships or tugs involved in docking. Their prop-wash can easily capsize small vessels or send them into the path of oncoming traffic.

4. Be sure that your boat is visible at night and in poor weather conditions.

A tug boat pushing a barge while a small pleasure boat passes beside it.

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