Coast Guard warns of heavy weather, urges recreational boaters to reconsider Gasparilla participation

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Coast Guard is urging boaters to use extreme caution due to the expected heavy weather forecasted for Saturday in the Tampa Bay and surrounding area.

A small craft advisory will be issued beginning Friday night for the region as strong winds and increasingly choppy conditions are expected. Marine conditions inside the bay are expected to worsen throughout Saturday morning as winds and waves increase, with heavy rain expected by mid-day.

The Coast Guard is strongly urging recreational boaters to reconsider participating in the Gasparilla Marine Invasion on Saturday, due to the forecasted marine conditions.

The Coast Guard asks the boating public to monitor weather broadcasts and be aware of current storm advisories. The National Weather Service broadcasts marine weather forecasts regularly. Forecasts can be heard by tuning in to Channels 1 through 5 on a VHF marine radio or by checking the NWS website at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/.

Boaters are reminded to always wear their life jackets, file a float plan with a friend or family member, and are highly encouraged to have a working VHF radio and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) on board.

Tips for safe boating can be found at the following link: http://www.uscgboating.org/

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