TAMPA — Only one minor tweak will be made to the U.S. Coast Guard's plans to restrict several local waterways during the Republican National Convention, according to documents from the Department of Homeland Security.
The restricted area of Seddon Channel will be extended to Robert E. Knight Pier so that the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office can operate out of its Marine Unit Boat Ramp from Aug. 25 to Aug. 31. HCSO registered the only comment during the rule's public comment period.
During the convention, recreational boaters can't access Garrison Channel; Seddon Channel; Sparkman Channel; Ybor Channel; Ybor Turning Basin; a channel separating Davis Islands from the mainland; and part of the Hillsborough River without permission from the Coast Guard. People with boats docked in the security areas won't be able to move them without Coast Guard permission from 12:01 p.m. Aug. 25 to 11:59 a.m. Aug. 31.
The 144-hour security zone also extends 20 feet on shore surrounding each of the waterways. Commercial vessels can still use Sparkman and Ybor Channels and the Ybor Turning Basin if they have prior Coast Guard approval and allow law enforcement to board the ships.
The convention, scheduled Aug. 27 through Aug. 30, is expected to draw 15,000 protesters.
Coast Guard officials wrote that it also could draw threats of terrorism and violent disturbances.