Will My Boat Fit Under Tampa Bay Bridges?
Tampa Bay Boating and Bridges
Coastal cities around the world are often lined with tall sailboats, yachts or fishing boats. While boating may seem as simple as turning a key or opening a sail, boating comes with challenges, one of which is bridge clearance. When choosing to move to Tampa Bay often times you will end up having a boat accompanying you. If this isn’t the case, and you plan on purchasing a boat upon arrival, Tampa Bay is well equipped for boating of all kinds. As one of the nation's largest hubs for sailboats, yachts, fishing and recreational vessels, Tampa Bay is built to accommodate such boating vehicles. While Tampa Bay has always been easily accessible for boats of all sizes, in the last decade bridges have been extended, expanded, strengthened, and provide boat owners with easier access to well-traveled waterways.
St. Petersburg is known as one of the largest and most desirable cities in Florida, is home to many boaters, and is characterized by large bodies of water that promotes easy travel. Located between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, St. Petersburg boasts waterway canals instead of streets promoting boating as a normal method of transportation. For those with larger boats, be aware that within St. Petersburg there are dozens of bridges with varying heights, however, the bridge from lower Tampa Bay to St. Petersburg is 4.14 miles long, 95 feet wide and has a height of 430 feet, 175’ boat clearance and is known as the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Many Bascule Bridges throughout the city will open and close on specific schedules, so should you require an opened bridge for your clearance or travel needs, be sure to plan accordingly. Luckily most bridges within the Bay have high closed clearances which allows for easy travel and recreation.
There are 7 bridges that are primarily used when accessing and traveling through Tampa Bay, Bayside Bridge, Clearwater Memorial Causeway, Courtney Campbell Causeway, Gandy Bridge, Howard Frankland Bridge, Sunshine Skyway Bridge and Treasure Island Causeway.
For a full list of commonly used bridges within the Tampa Bay area and to find their clearances, please visit Nautical Charts or visit the Tampa Bay Boating and Angling Guide where you can view all the different types of bridges and their closed clearances, allowing you to easily plan your travel needs without coordinating with a scheduled Bascule Bridge opening.
If you’re worried that your vessel will be a problem when it comes to bridge clearance, first and foremost you should ensure you have an accurate measurement on your boat’s height. To get an accurate measurement for your boat's total height, you should measure from the bottom of the keel to the highest non removable part of the boat. The draft measurement is the measurement from the keel to the waterline and then to the highest part of the boat, this will give you your standing height which is a more accurate measurement to use when researching clearance options.
The Courtney Campbell Causeway currently has the lowest clearance for a fixed bridge within all of Tampa Bay at 10’, however, there is a higher clearance point towards the middle of the bridge for larger boats which allows for vessels up to 40’ to safely clear the bridge. Likewise, there is a clearance point along The Sunshine Skyway Bridge of 11’, yet the bridge also provides the highest clearance for vessels within all of Tampa Bay at an astounding 175’.
There are many communities within Tampa Bay that offer waterfront living and also provide moorage slips, however, the size of the slips vary drastically pending on each specific community. While many homes provide slips that will fit boating vessels of up to 40’ in length, it is often uncommon to find boating slips of a larger size outside of a marina. Should you have a larger vessel that requires moorage you can easily find boat slips in multiple different sizes at one of the many Marinas within and surrounding the Tampa Bay area. The average cost of renting a boat slip in Florida is currently $12 per foot, additional electric fees may apply and generally range between $60-90 monthly. Daily and weekly moorage slips are also available should you only need a short stay as you finalize the purchase of a home that will allow for personal moorage space.
When choosing Florida to be your home, you are guaranteed to enjoy the sunshine, however, even more enjoyable may be the days spent on Florida’s crystal clear waters, whether for a quick fishing trip, a picnic in the boat, or a long day of travel with family or friends, Tampa Bay provides easy access for all.