ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There’s a new boat tour setting sail daily from the St. Pete Pier that’s not just looking for aquatic life, it's bringing it on board for visitors to experience close up.
It’s all part of the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center’s mission to better protect our environment through education.
Every tour is a new adventure aboard the Discovery, as Lead Boat Educator Savannah Gandee tosses the big green net into Florida’s largest open-water estuary.
“You truly never know what we are going to find which makes it fun for me and everyone on board,” said Gandee.
“We can show them the animals that live here under the water’s surface,” said Gandee. “Today we got several crab species but we got several fish as well.”
The tours take place four times a day and are 75 minutes long, offering a scenic loop around the pier.
“I really feel fulfilled when people become so energetic surrounding what we are doing out here,” said Gandee.
Gandee hopes all visitors of the new Eco-Vessel don’t just leave with some great photos but also a better understanding of the nature surrounding them.
“Education is the first step in getting people on board to taking care of their environment, being good stewards of their environment, whether it’s the Tampa Bay watershed or being out of town, their own environments back home,” said Gandee.
For many onboard, it's their first time seeing these various species close up. It’s a real hands-on science class, and when it’s over, every animal is returned to the bay.
“I really enjoy getting to show them animals that live here and seeing how excited they are when they get to meet them,” said Gandee.
For more information on the Eco-Vessel tour go to tbwdiscoverycenter.org.