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Outdoors trail mix: St. Petersburg's annual boat show is under way; manatees are in motion, go slow

Looking for a new center console or sailboat? Head to the Progress Energy Center for the Arts and the Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin for the St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show, which runs through Sunday.

With more than 250 marine-related companies and hundreds of boats, there will be something for anglers, cruisers and lovers of all things outdoors. The mix at this year's event is expected to be about 75 percent powerboats and 25 percent sailboats, including many manufacturers displaying next year's models.

Show hours: Today — 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday — 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: Adults — $8 online, $10 at the door. Children (under 15) and military personnel with valid identification are free. Parking: $6. The Downtown Looper Trolley stops on First Street at the Mahaffey Theater.

Slow, please, manatees in motion

Manatees are on the move to warmer waters, so boaters and anglers should be extra cautious over these next few months to avoid colliding with these slow-moving creatures. Seasonal speed zones have gone into effect across the state now that colder weather is here.

Polarized sunglasses will help you spot manatees. Look for large swirls on the surface of the water (many look like a giant footprint). In shallow water, manatees will often kick up a mud trail.

Here are additional tips courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

• Stay in marked channels.

• Obey posted speed limits.

• Post a lookout on the bow of the boat.

• Use a pole or paddle in areas with heavy manatee traffic.

If you come across a sick or injured manatee, call the FWC's Wildlife Alert hotline toll-free at 1-888-404-3922 or text message, Florida residents can call #FWC and *FWC via cellphone.

Many seasonal speed zones went into effect Nov. 15 (for a complete listing, go to or call the FWC at 850-922-4330).

Pinellas County: A no-motor zone is in effect in the shallow areas south of the Gandy Channel, and north and east of the Progress Energy Power Plant at Weedon Island.

Hillsborough County: There is no entry to portions of the discharge canal of the TECO Power Plant in Apollo Beach until March 31. Idle speed is required in the vicinity of the same power plant.

Citrus County: Speed limit of 25 mph required in the lower (western) portions of the Withlacoochee River and Bennetts Creek, the lower (western) portions of the Chassahowitzka River and portions of Kings Bay. Idle or slow speeds have been mandated in portions of the Homosassa River between the Salt River and Trade Winds Marina and southern portion of Halls River. Slow speed is required in all waters in the vicinity of Florida Power's effluent canal. No entry is permitted in the Blue Waters area of the upper Homosassa River near Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

Gift for getting out

Join St. Petersburg Times Outdoors Editor Terry Tomalin at a book signing for Everyday Adventures, a Florida travel guide, which contains 80 adventures that cover everything from kite surfing to cave diving.

Saturday: 2-3:30 p.m., Haslam's Bookstore, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Call (727) 822-8616.

Dec. 10: 2-3:30 p.m., USF Barnes & Noble, 500 3rd Street S, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 873-2665.

Dec. 17: 1-2:30 p.m., Bill Jackson Shop for Adventure, 9501 U.S. 19 N, Pinellas Park. Call (727) 576-4169.

The book is also available online for $14.95 at To learn more, go to adventures.

Gifts to wear or hang inside

Just in time for Christmas, local angler-artist Kevin Brant has opened a new shop and working studio for his game fish and wildlife art called Gallery at 670 Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg. Brant, whose depictions of inshore sport fish have adorned a popular line of T-shirts, will also be exhibiting his work at the boat show in St. Petersburg this weekend. The former Coast Guard helicopter search-and-rescue crewman studied at Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale but learned his craft fishing the flats of Tampa Bay. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and a series of popular fish identification books. To learn more, go to or call (727) 741-3944.


{outdoors-related bits and bites}

Outdoors trail mix: St. Petersburg's annual boat show is under way; manatees are in motion, go slow 12/01/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 1, 2011 7:53pm]
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