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.