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Old 14-06-2015, 12:22   #1
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Tampa Bay Shoals

I'm going to be sailing a 40 ft Hunter drawing 5 ft across Tampa Bay and noted the shoals that seem to be practically circumferential around the bay except at the opening to the Gulf. Do I need to avoid them entirely or are they sufficiently deep to allow passage of a boat of my size? Thanks
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Old 14-06-2015, 12:44   #2
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Re: Tampa Bay Shoals

Well it depends. Some areas around the bay are deep enough, some areas are so shallow they are dry at low tide.

Best thing to do is get a chart and plan your routes accordingly.
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Old 14-06-2015, 17:18   #3
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Re: Tampa Bay Shoals

Tampa Bay, given its heavy commercial traffic, is very accurately charted, but be aware that if the shoals you are refering to include "spoils areas" that spoils areas have no gauranteed depth and often no charted depth. They can and do change without notice depending on dredging activity. So, unless you have VERY current local knowledge I would avoid crossing spoils areas you do not know. There are many in the area you can cross, but don't do it unless you know for sure.
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Old 14-06-2015, 18:19   #4
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Re: Tampa Bay Shoals

There are dozens of marked channels into and out of TB besides the Gulf that will easily accommodate 6'.... as others have said, get a current chart and ask around the waterfront for the latest local knowledge.
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Old 14-06-2015, 20:17   #5
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Re: Tampa Bay Shoals

I meant "spoils" not "shoals"!
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Old 14-06-2015, 21:27   #6
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Re: Tampa Bay Shoals

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryjm View Post
I meant "spoils" not "shoals"!
\

OK, spoils. Then what Belizesailor said. I avoid them on principal. Never wanted to give them a try.
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Old 15-06-2015, 06:36   #7
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Re: Tampa Bay Shoals

If you click over to ActiveCaptain.com, register (it's free) and use the Interactive Cruising Guide, you can view the current up-to-date charts for the Tampa Bay area with notations based upon the latest NTM's. In general the Spoil Banks west of the Skyway Bridge have more than adaquate water over them for a 5' draft. The further east/north one travels in the Bay, where more dredging is necessary because of siltation due to run-off, the more shallow the banks to the point where some spoil banks (or islands) are above sea-level even at high tide. There is more than adequate sailing area however and channels are well marked where there are shallows/banks. The bigger hazard in Tampa Bay is other traffic and particularly the private power boats or "fast movers" as we call them that are not confined to the deep water channels. In no case assume a fast mover sees you or will take avoiding action if so. Many have little knowledge of COLREGS and/or could care less and have no compunctions about passing another boat close aboard. Such passes are less problematic with boats on plane but the heavy, displacement boats, at speed, create tremendous wakes that we always try to take bow on, or nearly so, it possible. The loud warning "big wake" (advising everyone to hold on tight) is commonplace while sailing the Bay.

FWIW...
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Old 15-06-2015, 10:27   #8
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Re: Tampa Bay Shoals

HJ,
We kept our boat in Summer storage for 2 years in Ruskin, Fl.--south Tampa Bay. We did several shakedown cruises in the bay after launch before heading south. The shoal areas are well marked. Respect them. The spoil areas run roughly parallel to the main shipping channel that heads west into the Gulf. I once called the Coast Guard and asked them if it were safe to sail over the spoil areas and if they knew the depths. Their answer was that they didn't recommend it and it was best to avoid those areas when sailing in the bay. Since the water in Tampa bay is murky, even close to shore, you must decide for yourself if it is worth it. Whenever we left Tampa Bay, we sailed within the ship channel. However, we had many pleasant sails between St. Pete and Ruskin and around the bay. My advice: read your charts. Good luck and good sailing. P.S. I would be reluctant to depend solely on electronic navigation in this area although there are some on this Forum, I'm sure, who might disagree. It's your boat!
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Old 19-06-2015, 15:07   #9
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Re: Tampa Bay Shoals

You can always access the data from the Navionics chips/app here:
Navionics Webapp

Tampa Bay is very well charted with SonarCharts.

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