TAMPA (WFLA) – Several law enforcement agencies are coming together to ensure a safe boat parade for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.
The route will be the same as the Lightning’s boat parade in October. Players will gather at Davis Islands Yacht Club at 10 a.m., launching onto the Hillsborough River sometime around 11 a.m. Boats will head north through the channel, ending at Rick’s on the River by around 12 to 1 p.m.
Fans will be allowed on the shore, along the Riverwalk and in the city’s waterside parks, but no fans will be allowed on any bridges along the route in case they need to be raised. Traffic will also be slow going over bridges during the parade.
Personal boats will be allowed on the water during the parade, but Assistant Chief Ruben Delgado of Tampa Police Department stressed that boaters should not get too close to the players and boats in the actual parade.
“Please cooperate,” Delgado said. “We know people are gonna get excited, we know they want to get close to the players. There’s plenty of opportunities to view them safely, from a distance. You just have to remember a lot of people are going to be down here to see it.”
Law enforcement wants to keep the Stanley Cup safe in case any Lightning player pulls a Tom Brady.
“There’s plenty of room on the water for the boats,” said Delgado. “There will be numerous law enforcement vessels up and down the river to try to keep them aside, but we do ask that people boat responsibly and keep a safe distance from the actual parade route itself.”
Several roads will be closed for the parade. Planning is still ongoing, but as of Friday afternoon, TPD said Doyle Carlton Drive will be closed for the parade. Laurel Street will be closed, as will Green Street from North Boulevard to Laurel Street.