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Coast Guard, Hillsborough County Sheriff enforcing water safety for Super Bowl

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Posted at 3:43 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 17:54:05-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Part of the massive Super Bowl security plan includes water safety.

Tampa Bay is expected to have heavy boat traffic this weekend. If you're going to be cheering on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while on a boat, then there are some guidelines you need to follow.

“We want folks to enjoy the Super Bowl, but at the same time we’re still going to enforce the laws and regulations that are required by us to make sure this is a safe environment,” said Cmdr. Commander Moore, Response Operations Chief for the St. Petersburg Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is creating a Super Bowl marine safety zone.

It will be located at Garrison Channel, Seddon Channel Turning Basin and the Hillsborough River near downtown Tampa. Marine deputies will be focusing on people speeding, proper safety equipment and boating while impaired.

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“We only have to look back to last May and see the tragic death and the families that were devastated because a 12-year-old who was tubing lost her life to an impaired and drunken boater,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister.

Law enforcement on the ground will be patrolling ferries and terminals. The Coast Guard said they'll be using canines.

“Canine detection teams that we have out here that are coming from different units throughout the coast guard to support this event, to make sure we don’t introduce explosives into the maritime environment," Moore said.

The Coast Guard will also be on the lookout for charter boats. They say if you’re going to be getting on a commercial boat make sure the captain is properly trained.

“Ask to see the captain's license. A captain operating a vessel that you’re paying on should have a red booklet that looks just like this. This is a Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Credential, said Brian Knapp, Sr. Investigating Officer for the St. Petersburg Coast Guard.

Vessels will have to move through the safety zone at a steady speed and may not stop, or slow down, only if there’s an emergency.

The safety zones will run through Sunday, Feb. 7.