TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Ahead of the 4th of July weekend, MacDill Air Force Base has been warning boaters to stay away from restricted waters, or they could face consequences.
Patrol boats monitor the water daily around the peninsula where the base is located. Civilian boats are not allowed to be in the seven miles of water around the peninsula. They are also not allowed out 1,000 to 2,000 yards in some areas.
“We try to make sure that people are abiding by the rules of the road on the water, and also that there’s no one with ill intent towards the instillation that may try to do the people and assets some harm,” Marine Patrol Unit Master Sergeant Steven Koster said.
The Air Force has put up large poles along the shoreline to let boaters know where they are not allowed to cross. If boaters do go into the restricted waters, they could face a fine of nearly $300.
Punishment could be more serious, depending on what the Air Force Marine Unit finds.
According to authorities, they are seeing more boaters trespassing into coast restricted waters that are possibly due to the pandemic and the events that came with it last year.
“A lot of people went out and bought boats,” Koster said. “A lot of people joined places like rental boat agencies where they get a boat. A lot of people out on the water that historically weren’t on the water, and they’re unfamiliar with the area.”
According to the Marine Unit, they have already seen 110 violations since the first of the year.