TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Boaters may be in for a rough ride on Gasparilla after a small craft advisory was issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) for Saturday, Jan. 29.
The advisory states boaters can expect northwest winds 20 kt (23 mph) to 25 kt (28 mph) with gusts up to 30 kt (34 mph) and seas of 6 to 9 feet from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. The U.S. Coast Guard said a small craft is generally described as being less than 33 feet in length.
The NWS said strong winds can cause hazardous seas which could capsize or damage vessels and reduce visibility.
The advisory affects coastal waters from Bonita Beach to Englewood out 20 nautical miles and waters from Bonita Beach to Englewood out 20 to 60 NM.
The Tampa Police Department said inexperienced mariners, especially those who plan to operate smaller vessels, should avoid boating in hazardous conditions. Boaters who plan to make way in the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion should check the latest reports from the National Weather Service before getting underway.
“Know your limitations,” the department said. “If in doubt, don’t go out!”
Weather was already believed to be an issue for one of the city’s largest annual events. The latest MAX DEFENDER 8 FORECAST predicted temperatures to be in the upper 40s at the warmest point of the day on Saturday.