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Aspiring Gasparilla boaters, follow the laws of the sea

Want to hit the waves for Gasparilla? Here's what you need to know:

The Jose Gasparilla sets sail from Ballast Point, the Tampa Yacht and Country Club at 5320 Interbay Blvd., at 9:30 a.m. It will make its way past Davis Islands, where smaller craft are free to follow it toward the Tampa Convention Center.

Only motorized crafts are allowed in the area around the parade. The U.S. Coast Guard, along with local law enforcement agencies, will enforce this rule and pluck wakeboarders, kayakers and swimmers out of the water for safety reasons.

If you don't own a boat or have a friend who owns one, your best bet is finding a paid party cruise. Most local one-day boat rental companies do not allow their crafts to be taken to Gasparilla. Even the ones that do, like I.C. Sharks at 13040 Gandy Blvd in St. Petersburg (icsharks.com), only rent to experienced boaters.

All boats should have proper safety equipment, (life preservers, fire extinguishers, etc.) and you can be cited if an inspection is failed.

Boating experience matters for the Invasion. Boats that get too close to the Jose Gasparilla as it sails to the Tampa Convention Center will be redirected, and erratic, nuisance cruising will almost certainly get you stopped for boating under the influence check.

Keep your passengers off the bow while the boat is in motion. It's an offense that comes with a citation and could also end up with a man overboard.

Do not jump into the water. You can be brained by a craft that doesn't see you and die.

Never have more people than your craft specifications allow on the ship. Sinking in a crowded area is less likely to end in death but more likely to end in extreme embarrassment.

Captains should drink responsibly. There are no rules against having alcohol on boats but plenty against boating under the influence. A responsible captain, encourages passengers to know their limits but maintains the wherewithal to save those who haven't learned their limits yet.

— Robbyn Mitchell. Sources: Tampa Police Cpl. Paul Smalley; Lisa Cassidy of Tierra Verde Boat Rentals, Rick Hamlet of J.C. Sharks Boat Rentals.

Follow the laws of the sea

Want to hit the waves for Gasparilla? Here's what you need to know:

The Jose Gasparilla sets sail from Ballast Point, the Tampa Yacht and Country Club at 5320 Interbay Blvd., at 9:30 a.m. It will make its way past Davis Islands, where smaller craft are free to follow it toward the Tampa Convention Center.

Only motorized crafts are allowed in the area around the parade. The Coast Guard, along with local law enforcement, will enforce this rule and pluck wakeboarders, kayakers and swimmers out of the water for safety reasons.

If you don't own a boat or have a friend who owns one, your best bet is finding a paid party cruise. Most local one-day boat rental companies do not allow their crafts to be taken to Gasparilla. Even the ones that do, like I.C. Sharks at 13040 Gandy Blvd. in St. Petersburg (icsharks.com), rent only to experienced boaters.

All boats should have proper safety equipment, (life preservers, fire extinguishers, etc.) and you can be cited if an inspection is failed.

Boating experience matters for the Invasion. Boats that get too close to the Jose Gasparilla as it sails to the Tampa Convention Center will be redirected, and erratic, nuisance cruising will almost certainly get you stopped for boating under the influence check.

Keep your passengers off the bow while the boat is in motion. It's an offense that comes with a citation and could also end up with a man overboard. Do not jump into the water. You can be brained by a craft that doesn't see you and die.

Never have more people than your craft specifications allow on the ship. Sinking in a crowded area is less likely to end in death but more likely to end in extreme embarrassment.

Captains should drink responsibly. There are no rules against having alcohol on boats but plenty against boating under the influence. A responsible captain, encourages passengers to know their limits but maintains the wherewithal to save those who haven't learned their limits yet.

— Robbyn Mitchell

Sources: Tampa Police Cpl. Paul Smalley; Lisa Cassidy of Tierra Verde Boat Rentals, Rick Hamlet of I.C. Sharks Boat Rentals.

Aspiring Gasparilla boaters, follow the laws of the sea 01/23/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 24, 2014 3:50pm]
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