TAMPA, Fla. — Mayor Jane Castor christened Tampa's newest addition Saturday morning with the ceremonial breaking of a champagne bottle across the boat's bow.
“This is a personal passion of mine, ensuring that our community is clean each and every day,” Castor said.
The boat is called the "Litter Skimmer," which works as a conveyor system with two wings that collect garbage and debris on and just beneath the surface of the water.
“The good thing about this vessel is will be able to pick up all the floating organic materials, as well the logs and boating hazards that coming from the storms," said Walt Townsend, the boat's operator.
The boat will serve Sparkman Channel all the way up to Ybor Turning Basin, all the way up the Hillsborough river as far as Armature Works. It will also skim around Bayshore Boulevard.
The city also announced they are receiving a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for $500,000 to study where the trash is coming from.
"This grant is an important part of stopping this trash [from] getting in the waterway in the first place," said Whit Remer, the sustainability and resilience officer for the city of Tampa.
Castor says this is an important step in an ongoing effort to keep the city clean.
“We’re not stopping we’re going to skim the litter that makes it to the water the next step is stopping it from ever getting into our water,” Castor said.