National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium

Field Trips

Symposium Field trips are scheduled Wednesday 12:00pm-5:00pm. One field trip is included with each symposium registration and during the registration process you will be prompted to select one. Please note each field trip has a limited capacity and early registration is strongly recommended if you would like to secure space on a specific field trip.

City of St. Petersburg’s Dynamic Downtown Waterfront

The City of St. Petersburg, Florida is home to a waterfront as dynamic as the citizens who reside here.   On the shores of the Tampa Bay, the downtown waterfront spans about 7 miles.  This bus tour will take you along the downtown waterfront with stops that focus on the working waterfront areas including the marinas, the port, and the Salt Creek Marine District.  The group will be able to talk with people who work in these areas.  These city staff, business owners, and others have been a part of past successes and challenges, and they are part of the future of the downtown waterfront that is captured in the recently completed Downtown Waterfront Master Plan (DWMP).  The downtown waterfront includes diverse activities and areas such as:

  • Recreational Parks, beaches and beautiful  vistas
  • Mahaffey Theater and many museums including the world-famous Dali museum
  • Thriving downtown with restaurants, bars, galleries, and retail
  • Largest marine science district in the southeastern United States
  • Boat access including public, private marinas as well as day-visit boat parking
  • Working boatyards of the Salt Creek District
  • It also houses a U.S. Coast Guard Station, the Albert Whitted Airport, the USF College of Marine Science and the USFSP campus, and the Al Lang Stadium, home to the Rowdies soccer team

Photos courtesy of City of St. Petersburg

Locations Downtown waterfront with stops at various working waterfront areas including the marinas, the port, downtown art area and the Salt Creek Marine District.
Websites http://www.stpete.org/
http://www.stpete.org/city_initiatives/downtown_waterfront_master_plan.php
Organizer and Contact Libby Carnahan, UF, IFAS FL Sea Grant;  Email: lcarnahan@co.pinellas.fl.us
Speakers Business Leaders from Salt Creek Boatyards, Harborage Marina, St. Pete Ocean Team, and downtown arts
Depart Hotel 12:00 pm
Itinerary Downtown Waterfront: Marina, port, art area and the Salt Creek Marine District.
Return to Hotel 5:00 PM
Maximum Attendance 55 People 
Registration Deadline Until Trip is Full;  Register for field trips via symposium registration
Cost to Participate Included in the symposium registration cost; Registration for symposium required
Requirements All participants will be required to sign UF/NWWWS field trip liability waiver
Recommended or Required Clothing or Gear  Closed-toed Shoes, sun protection, wind/cold protection if applicable

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Clearwater’s Docks, Marina and Marine Aquarium

The City of Clearwater is a gateway to recreational boating near the Gulf of Mexico on the Central West Coast of Florida. This tour will visit the Clearwater Harbor and Clearwater Beach Marinas. The marinas provide important public access points for recreational boating in our region and are strategically located adjacent to dining, entertainment and public transportation. The Beach Marina is also an economic driver- housing 17 fishing charter boats, 2 fishing party boats, 3 dinner (sightseeing) cruise boats, and 23 other commercial boats. You will also get a behind-the-scenes look at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA). The CMA was once the site of a water treatment plant. Today the CMA is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured marine animals, public education, and animal-assisted therapy and research. It is the home to Winter a bottlenose dolphin who is featured in two films, Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale II. Winter’s story has brought international fame to this small aquarium and lots of folks visiting Clearwater!

Locations Clearwater Harbor Marina,  Clearwater Beach Marina, Clearwater Marine Aquarium 
Websites Clearwater Harbor Marina 
Clearwater Beach Marina 
Clearwater Marine Aquarium 
Tour Organizer and Contact Pat Harrell, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Email: Patricia.Harrell@MyFWC.com
Speakers William Morris, Director, Marine and Aviation Dept., City of Clearwater
Depart Hotel 12:00 PM
Itinerary Arrive and tour the Clearwater Harbor Marina, depart to tour the Clearwater Beach Marina, depart to tour the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Return to Hotel 5:00 PM
Maximum Attendance 40 People 
Registration Deadline Until Trip is Full;  Register for field trips via symposium registration
Cost to Participate Included in the symposium registration cost; Registration for symposium required
Requirements All participants will be required to sign  UF/NWWWS field trip liability waiver
Recommended or Required Clothing or Gear  Closed-toed Shoes, sun protection, wind/cold protection if applicable

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Cortez: The Little Fishing Village That Could

The historic commercial fishing village of Cortez was founded in the 1880s is on the National Register of Historic Places. Highlighting its importance as one of the few remaining working commercial fishing communities in Florida, Cortez was designated in 1999 as a Waterfronts Florida Partnership Communities. Although commercial fishing and agriculture where once the pillars of the local economy, urbanization, habitat loss, and competition with recreational fishing interests led to contraction of the fishing industry. In 1994 a Florida constitution net ban was passed by the electorate that prohibited the use of the traditional gill-nets used in the inshore fisheries. In the ensuing decades, the community has struggled to preserve its unique history and environment.

The unique spirit that is Cortez has prevailed. This will be a special opportunity for tour participants to experience the creativity and industry of this special community. You will be able to tour a major habitat restoration phase of the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) Preserve – a unique community effort to privately fund purchase and restoration of environmentally sensitive lands through proceeds generated by the Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival. You will also tour the Florida Maritime Museum, commercial fishing facilities and experience a walk through history as you tour the town. You will be treated with a sampling of some local seafood delicacies and delightful conversation with local leaders and fishermen.

Photos courtesy of Manatee County and the Florida Maritime Museum

Locations Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) Preserve, Florida Maritime Museum, Fish Preserve and Bell's Seafood Company.
Websites www.floridamaritimemuseum.org
http://www.cortez-fish.org
www.starfishcompany.com 
Tour Organizers and Contact

Joy Hazell, Florida Sea Grant, Email: jhazell@leegov.com,

Angela Collins, Florida Sea Grant, Email: abcollins@ufl.edu

Speakers

John Stevely, Florida Sea Grant, UF Emeritus
Amara Cocilovo Nash, Maritime Museum
Jane vonHamann, FISH Board of Directors
Rick Stewart, Boatworks and Duette Carriage Co.
John Banyas and/or Kim McVey, Cortez Bait and Seafood
Karen Bell, AP Bell and Starfish Company

Depart Hotel 12:00 PM
Itinerary 1:45 Tour Florida Maritime Museum & F.I.S.H. BoatWorks; 2:35 Tour Fish Preserve; 3:00 Tour Cortez Bait and Seafood; 3:15 Tour Bell' and Starfish Seafood Company; 4:00 Bus departs for hotel.
Return to Hotel 5:00 PM
Maximum Attendance 40 People 
Registration Deadline Until Trip is Full;  Register for field trips via symposium registration
Cost to Participate Included in the symposium registration cost; Registration for symposium required
Requirements All participants will be required to sign UF/NWWWS field trip liability waiver
Recommended or Required Clothing or Gear  Closed-toed Shoes, sun protection, wind/cold protection if applicable

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Historic Tarpon Springs Waterfront

Incorporated in 1887, Tarpon Springs is a leader in the world’s natural sponge market. Please join us as we explore the historic Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks and the Acme Sponge & Chamois Co. processing facility. We will take an informative boat ride where a diver will demonstrate sponge diving wearing a traditional rubberized diving suit and helmet; take a narrated tour of the sponge docks and then tour the Acme Sponge & Chamois Co. processing facility. Come learn about the fascinating maritime culture and heritage of this working waterfront industry. Please wear comfortable shoes as we will be on a boat and walking for this field trip.

Locations Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks and Acme Sponge & Chamois Co.
Websites http://acmesponge.com/Index.shtml
http://spongedocks.net/
Tour Organizer and Contact Jim Cantonis, FL Sea Grant Advisory;  Email:  JCantonis@acmesponge.com
Depart Hotel 12:00 PM
Itinerary Arrive Sponge Docks 1:30pm; board Sponge Dive boat; boat ride for 30 minutes; return Sponge Docks for narrated tour of the Sponge Docks and free time;  Depart for Sponge factory;  30 minute tour of Factory; return to hotel 
Return to Hotel 5:00 PM
Maximum Attendance 25 People 
Registration Deadline Until Trip is Full;  Register for field trips via symposium registration
Cost to Participate Included in the symposium registration cost; Registration for symposium required
Requirements All participants will be required to sign UF/NWWWS field trip liability waiver
Recommended or Required Clothing or Gear  Closed-toed Shoes, sun protection, wind/cold protection if applicable

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Tampa Bay Commercial Shrimp Docks and Shrimp Processing Plant Tour

There are dress requirements for this tour

The trip will visit the only commercial shrimp docks remaining in Tampa Bay. Those on the tour will visit the office and off-loading facilities owned and operated by the Versaggi Shrimp Co.  The Versaggi Family is credited with being the founders of the commercial shrimp trawling industry in the SE United States, with a history that dates back to 1899.  The Versaggi Family were the pioneers that developed the commercial shrimp trawling industry that exists today.  Sal Versaggi will provide those on the tour with a brief history of the company, a description of the operations, and a walk through of the offloading facilities.  If weather permits, the tour will be able to watch as a commercial trawler ties up to the dock and offloads shrimp to be taken by truck to the nearby processing facilities. Following the visit to the shrimp docks, the group will re-board the bus for a quick trip to and visit of the Cox’s Wholesale Seafood shrimp processing plant located just north of the Tampa Airport. Groups of 5 will take a brief tour inside the processing plant to see how shrimp landed by the Versaggi Shrimp Co are handled, processed and shipped throughout the US and abroad.Those on the tour will hopefully gain a better understanding of the commercial seafood industry’s needs for access to adequate dock space and associated waterfront facilities. In addition, tour participants will better understand how working waterfronts contribute to local jobs, taxes, and incomes.

Location Tampa Shrimp Dock; Versaggi Shrimp Company; Cox’s Wholesale Seafood shrimp processing plant
Address Shrimp Docks: 2633 Causeway Blvd, Tampa, FL 33619

Processing Plant: 5806 Occident St, Tampa, FL 33614

Tour Organizer and Leader Chuck Adams, UF Sea Grant; cmadams@ufl.edu
Speakers

Sal Versaggi;  sal@versaggi-shrimp.com

Nancy Mathews (or TBA); nmathews@coxseafood.com

Depart Hotel 12:00 PM
Itinerary Arrive and Tour and Observation at both shrimp docks and processing facility
Return to Hotel 5:00 pm
Maximum Attendance 20 People 
Registration Deadline Until Trip is Full;  Register for field trips via symposium registration
Cost to Participate Included in the symposium registration cost; Registration for symposium required
IMPORTANT: Requirements All participants will be required to sign  UF/NWWWS field trip liability waiver and complete a Cox’s Wholesale Seafood Visitor Entry Form
IMPORTANT: Required Dress Code, Clothing, and Gear Closed-toed Shoes, sun protection, full length pants and other requirements to be found on the Cox’s Wholesale Seafood Visitor Entry Form (Read Requirements in Advance here)
Additional Information Depending on weather and moon phase (a new moon), shrimp trawlers may be offloading while tour is going on.  Attendees will likely NOT be able to board a vessel but can view from dock.

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The City of Tampa Riverwalk and the Port of Tampa Experience

The City of Tampa has worked to transform downtown's waterfront into an active, pedestrian friendly environment for commerce, transportation, entertainment and fitness. Participants will enjoy a walking tour of the new eight acre Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park which features a unique urban design, sustainable construction, and operational features including reclaimed water for irrigation and LED lighting.

After the walking tour, the group will tour one of America’s largest ports, Port Tampa Bay. Port Tampa Bay continues to flourish as the No. 1 economic engine in West Central Florida, generating nearly 100,000 jobs and delivering some $15 billion in annual economic impact. From a wide-ranging cargo mix to its cruise passenger popularity to ship maintenance and repair, Port Tampa Bay is among the nation's most diverse seaports. Join us for a cruise aboard the Bay Spirit II, a double decker catamaran to experience Florida’s largest and most diversified working seaport.

Locations City of Tampa Riverwalk and Port Tampa Bay Tour aboard the Bay Spirit II
Websites http://www.thetampariverwalk.com/ 
https://www.tampaport.com 
Tour Organizers and Contact Chris Verlinde, Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent; Email: ChristinaV@santarosa.fl.gov
Bob Swett, UF/IFAS Florida Sea Grant College Program; Email: rswett@ufl.edu
Speakers

Lee Hoffman, City of Tampa, Tampa, FL

Gary Smith, Moffatt & Nichol, Tampa, FL

Keith Greminger, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Tampa, FL

Isaac Canner, Moffatt & Nichol, Tampa, FL

Shaun Drinkard, Friends of the Riverwalk, Tampa, FL

Chris Cooley, Director of Environmental Affairs, Port Tampa Bay

Depart Hotel 12:00 PM
Itinerary 12:00 Bus tour of the north section of Riverwalk
12:20 Arrive at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
12:30 Begin .8 mile Riverwalk walking tour to Convention Center
2:15 Arrive at Convention Center
2:20 Board bus and travel to Florida Aquarium
2:30 Walk to Boat boarding area
3:00 Boat tour of the Tampa Harbor/Port of Tampa
4:20 Board bus for return to hotel
Return to Hotel 5:00 PM
Maximum Attendance 50 People 
Registration Deadline Until Trip is Full;  Register for field trips via symposium registration
Cost to Participate Included in the symposium registration cost; Registration for symposium required
Requirements All participants will be required to sign  UF/NWWWS field trip liability waiver
Recommended or Required Clothing or Gear  Closed-toed Shoes, sun protection, wind/cold protection if applicable

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Weedon Island Preserve

Come discover St. Petersburg’s “Best Kept Secret.” Join this tour with Pinellas County Preserve staff for a look at the state-of-the-art education center, hiking trails, and a paddle through some of the most pristine coastal shoreline of Tampa Bay. Issues discussed will include seagrass protection motor exclusion zones, coastal restoration, and cooperative coastal land management. Weedon Island Preserve was purchased in 1974 under the Endangered Lands Acquisition Act.  The state-owned, county-managed preserve is the 2nd largest tract of public land in the most densely-populated county in Florida. It is a site of historical and recreational importance. Weedon Island Preserve managers work to balance education, public access, and the protection of natural and archaeological resources.

Participants will use county canoes and sign the county canoe waiver and symposium waiver.  Participants must wear a closed-toed wading shoe (old tennis shoes, keens, scuba booties).  Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, cover up) is recommended. Life vest and paddle will be provided for you. Please bring a water bottle.

Location Weedon Island Preserve- Coastal Preserve in Urban Setting
Website http://weedonislandpreserve.org 
Address 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Tour Organzier and Contact Libby Carnahan, UF/IFAS Pinellas; Email: lcarnahan@pinellascounty.org
Tour Leader Brian Niemann, UF/IFAS Pinellas
Speakers Pamela Leasure, Pinellas County Environmental Lands Manager
Lindsay Cross, Friends of Weedon Island President
Brian Niemann, UF FFL Agent at Weedon
Depart Hotel 12:00 PM
Itinerary Welcome & Tour Exhibit Hall, Mangrove Hike and Management Discussion, Canoe the Preserve, 4:30pm Bus Departs Weedon for Hotel
(group may be divided and flip flop activities)
Return to Hotel 5:00 PM
Maximum Attendance 40 People 
Registration Deadline Until Trip is Full;  Register for field trips via symposium registration
Cost to Participate Included in the symposium registration cost; Registration for symposium required
Requirements All participants will be required to sign UF/NWWWS field trip liability waiver, and a Canoe Waiver at the Preserve
Recommended or Required Clothing or Gear  Closed-toed Shoes, sun protection, wind/cold protection if applicable

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