Make us your home page

Tampa port looks to open cruise ship docks to public

TAMPA — Pressured by Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Channel District businesses, port director Richard Wainio pledged Tuesday to develop a plan to open the cruise ship docks to the public.

Federal and state security rules require that ports close off docks whenever vessels are tied up there. At other times, the Coast Guard has granted permission for the public to go out on the docks behind Channelside Bay Plaza for events such as New Year's Eve and Fourth of July fireworks displays.

But most of the time, "it looks like you're in prison looking (through gates ) from Channelside at the waterfront," said Troy Manthey, chief executive of the Yacht StarShip and president of the Tampa Attractions Association

The association sponsored more than 40 special events on the dock over the past nine years, Manthey said.

Buckhorn asked Wainio last month for a report on what it would take to extend the city's planned Tampa Riverwalk to include the cruise ship docks.

"I understand why things were put in place post 9/11," Buckhorn said.

''I think there may be other ways to mitigate the security issues and at the same time open up what I think is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in downtown Tampa."

Plans call for the Riverwalk to stretch 2.6 miles along the Hills­borough River from Tampa Heights, through downtown to the Beneficial Drive bridge.

"What about all those areas along the West Coast that use their waterfront (for tourism)?" said Sandy Murman, who represents the Hillsborough County Commission on the board. "I wonder if we're missing out on an opportunity."

But unlike the wharf in San Francisco, Wainio said, Tampa is a working port. Cruise ships dock from before sunrise to late afternoon on weekends during the busy winter season.

After a public event, bomb-sniffing dogs and divers must check the dock for explosives before the next ship comes in, Wainio said.

"The question is, can we open it up more frequently and for longer periods of time?" he said. Also, he added, are the issues of how much that would cost and who would pay the bills.

Contact Steve Huettel at or (813) 226-3384.

Tampa port looks to open cruise ship docks to public 10/18/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 11:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pasco county lawyer disbarred for taking woman's money

    Real Estate

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis.

    The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis. 
[2016 booking photo via Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Rick Scott signs package of tax breaks

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott signed a tax cut package Thursday that — while vastly scaled back from what he wanted — eliminates the so-called "tampon tax" and offers tax holidays for back-to-school shoppers and Floridians preparing for hurricane season.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a tax cut package that will cost state coffers $91.6 million during the upcoming year. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]
  3. FBI probes fraudster's alleged church scam following Tampa Bay Times report

    Real Estate

    PLANT CITY — Once again, the FBI is investigating felon fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao.

    The FBI is investigating convicted mortgage fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao on new allegations following a Tampa Bay Times report.
[TImes file photo]

  4. Tampa Bay is ground-zero for assignment of benefits cases over broken auto glass


    When Rachel Thorpe tried to renew her auto insurance last year for her Toyta RAV4, she was stunned to see her monthly premium had nearly doubled to $600. The Sarasota driver was baffled since her only recent claim was over a broken windshield.

    Auto glass lawsuits filed by a third party (through what's known as assignment of benefits) are skyrocketing in Tampa Bay.
[Times file photo]
  5. Siesta Beach tops Dr. Beach's rankings of best locations in America


    Three beaches in Florida made it on a highly coveted list of the top 10 in America this year, ranked by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, a.k.a. "Dr. Beach."

    This May 18, 2017 photo shows Siesta Beach on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Fla. Siesta Beach is No. 1 on the list of best beaches for the summer of 2017 compiled by Stephen Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach, a professor at Florida International University. [Chris O'Meara | Associated Press]