December 2020 – Speed restrictions for boaters are important to prevent erosion, to prevent damage to docks and moored boats, for the protection of wildlife, and public safety. Over the years, various areas of the lower Hillsborough River were speed restricted. Some areas are “slow speed,” while others are “idle speed.” For those traveling this area of the Hillsborough River the restrictions now vary widely from area to area.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Division of Law Enforcement Boating and Waterways Section oversees and coordinates statewide regulatory waterway markers to ensure compliance with the uniform marking system and to improve compliance of state boating and resource protection zones for the long term well-being and benefit of all waterway users and the fish and wildlife resources. The City of Tampa coordinated with the FWC to amend the speed zones to make them more consistent and uniform.
On October 15, 2020, Tampa City Council unanimously approved changes to the 2003 ordinance establishing revised boating restricted areas in the Hillsborough River. This should provide a more consistent, logical, safe, and enjoyable experience for those using the river.