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Tampa police discourage small boats from sailing during Gasparilla flotilla

Gasparilla attendants are encouraged to watch the pirate invasion on land instead of water due to the small craft advisory.

TAMPA, Fla — Tampa first responders are on alert for Gasparilla because of the wind and rough conditions out on the water. 

They're encouraging parade-goers and attendants to watch the pirate invasion on land due to a small craft advisory.

"If you're on a small boat and you're inexperienced, we do not want you out on the water tomorrow," Tampa Police Interim Chief Ruben Delgado said.

Delgado said Gasparilla, on ideal weather conditions, is "tricky enough" due to the number of boaters in the water. But, add in the rough weather conditions and it's just not as safe. 

On Friday, event organizers revised the sailing route of the Jose Gasparilla ship out of caution.

"Tomorrow is not the boating day. Tomorrow is the day to enjoy the event from land," Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. John Bogush said. "We want everyone to be safe."

The invasion will now sail from Port Tampa Bay, then up the Ybor Channel, around Harbour Island and into the Seddon Channel before wrapping up at the Tampa Convention Center.

RELATED: Gasparilla sailing route changed because of weather concerns; boaters discouraged from taking part

"There's 300 days of the year you can enjoy the water. Tomorrow is not the day," Delgado said.

Trading the pirate look for winter gear may also be necessary due to cooler temperatures. As of Friday night, the weather is forecasted to be a high of 53 degrees and a low of 43 degrees with breezy conditions for Saturday.

"Bundle up. It's gonna be cold. We are Floridians so anything down in the 50s is freezing cold for us," John Antapasis, Tampa Fire Rescue emergency coordinator said.

Back on land, the EOC will be activated to look after weather and other safety concerns on the ground. The city of Tampa is expecting more people will be attending Gasparilla after a COVID-19 hiatus with an anticipated crowd of 300,000 people.

RELATED: Drinking at the Gasparilla Pirate Festival? Learn about designated 'wet zones' for 21+ pirates

Despite weather and safety concerns, Interim Chief Delgado said first responders are prepared for emergencies after months of planning with dozens of other agencies.

"We're ready to go for tomorrow," Delgado said.

Even without warmer temperatures, Floridians said they're grateful to see the return of Gasparilla and its pirates.

"The happiness they show to people, I think that’s fantastic," Sarla Saujani said. "It's a celebration."

Among other safety concerns include the presence of alcohol. The city of Tampa said there are certain wet and dry areas for consuming alcohol.

You can find a map of where it is allowed here.