It’s not always smooth sailing in Gulfport. Thursday night February 6, into early Friday morning, February 7, the Tampa Bay area experienced boat-rocking severe weather. Due to winds exceeding 40 miles per hour, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge was closed by 3 p.m. on Thursday. The evening’s heavy rains and howling winds stranded no less than three vessels in Boca Ciega Bay. Gulfport Marina Harbormaster Denis Frain encourages all boat owners to prepare for winter and summer storms much like homeowners would for hurricane season.
“Have a plan and check the weather, often,” said Frain. “There’s no reason why a vessel should run aground in the winter. Storms are very predictable during the winter. We were preparing for last week’s storm a week in advance; boat owners should have been doing the same.”
If vessels are stranded during storms, Frain urges owners to contact the local police department in order to keep vessels from being considered abandoned and to recover vessels as quickly as possible.