Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco and Tarpon Springs officials seek slower boat speeds at Anclote

HOLIDAY — If you ask Richard Jaryna what he thinks about slowing down boat speeds at the mouth of the Anclote River, he points to a small island you can see from the popular public boat docks at Anclote River Park.

There's a white cross on the island that memorializes the day in August 2010 when Michael Billiris, a well-known captain and former Tarpon Springs commissioner, died after a high-speed collision with another boat.

"It's an accident waiting to happen," said Jaryna, 66, who visits the park daily and helped organize a petition drive calling for the speed restrictions. "I'm surprised somebody wasn't killed before that."

After Billiris' death and requests from many park visitors, officials from Pasco County and Tarpon Springs are finishing work on an application to cut down speeds at a high-traffic intersection where boats enter and exit the river from several directions.

The proposal would create a limited-wake zone stretching from an existing idle-speed zone in the city, past the beach at Anclote park and ending just after the island with the white cross. In addition, there would be a new no-wake zone within 300 feet of the boat docks.

Tarpon Springs officials have already approved their portion of the effort. Pasco commissioners gave initial approval to the county's segment at a meeting Tuesday. The ordinance is scheduled for a second meeting April 24 in New Port Richey.

After that, it will be sent to the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which makes the final determination on the speed zone. That could take a few months.

"You know what, it can't get here fast enough," said County Commissioner Ann Hildebrand, an avid boater whose district includes the area. "Some of these people think the minute they hit the water it's full speed ahead."

Since 2005, there have been seven accidents along the 1-mile stretch included in the proposal. During Memorial Day weekend last year, Tarpon officials tracked almost 600 boats, and more than half were speeding. The biggest spike in speeding boats came at noon Sunday.

"That's a highly congested area and probably more problematic for boaters," said Tarpon Springs police Capt. Jeffrey Young. "With the beach right there too, there's a whole other set of concerns."

Young said commercial fisherman approved of the limited-wake zone, which would restrict boats to about 5 miles per hour. The restrictions, he said, run from shoreline to shoreline. That keeps boaters from speeding by on shallow waters in between the islands on the river.

Chuck Terbush, 69, brings his boat to Anclote River Park about once a week from his home in Lutz. On Thursday, he loaned his boat to his brother so he could do some fishing and reading on the shore. He welcomes to the limited-wake zones.

"It can get pretty rough out there," he said. "Coming in with that little 14-foot johnboat I've got, it's a bear sometimes."

Lee Logan can be reached at or (727) 869-6236.

Pasco and Tarpon Springs officials seek slower boat speeds at Anclote 03/23/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 23, 2012 9:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  2. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)
  3. Photo gallery: Nation pays respects to America's war dead on Memorial Day

    Human Interest

    At Memorial Day ceremonies in Tampa Bay area and around the country, Americans paid tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with rhythm section. On Saturday local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops placed flags on veterans???‚??„? graves prior to the event. This is an annual tradition of Curlew Hills' Memorial Day services and helps the Scout troops achieve merit badges. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
  4. Protest sparks Texas lawmaker threats of gun violence


    AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-"sanctuary cities" law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle — and even threaten gun violence — as tense …

  5. Photo gallery: 20 mugshots of pro athletes arrested in Florida - 1994 to 2017


    In light of today's arrest of Tiger Woods in Jupiter, Florida on DUI charges, here are 20 booking mugs of professional athletes who have been arrested in Florida, from 1994 (Jennifer …

    Desmond Bryant - 2005 - Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was arrested in Miami on charges of criminal mischief after allegedly "going to a neighbor's house inebriated and causing a commotion."