Tampa Law Enforcement Prepares For Lightning Boat Parade
Tampa police are encouraging fans to have fun and celebrate Monday — safely.
Law enforcement officials are preparing for Monday’s boat parade celebrating the Tampa Bay Lightning’s second consecutive Stanley Cup victory.
It’s the third such celebration for the city in ten months, following the Lightning’s first win in October 2020 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl championship in February.
“Tampa has become the sports city where we've had the most championships in the last year or two,” said Ruben Delgado, assistant chief of the Tampa Police Department.
“The weekday parades are something that we're going to embrace. So we're excited to do it, there's a big parade plan.”
That plan includes safety precautions such as road closures and keeping pedestrians off of all the bridges that cross the Hillsborough River.
“We won't allow pedestrians to watch the parade from there only because we're probably going to have some boats that we need to raise the bridges for and we cannot have pedestrians on that,” Delgado said. “There's going to be temporary road closures as well.”
Doyle Carlton Drive, West Laurel Street, and West Green Street will all be closed east of North Boulevard.
The boat parade will start along Davis Island and continue north through the channel, passing the convention center and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. It will end just north of Armature Works, where the hockey champions will be unloaded and escorted to Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park.
Fans can join the celebration on foot or by boat. Officers will have multiple vehicles on land and water to help keep the community safe.
Some members of Tampa Fire Rescue, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the U.S. Coast Guard will also be present.
“There's plenty of room in the water for the boats,” Delgado said. “There will be numerous law enforcement vessels up and down the river to try to keep them aside. But we do ask that the boaters boat responsibly and keep a safe distance from the actual parade route itself.”
He emphasized the importance of boaters keeping a safe distance, especially as the parade travels northward along the channel.
“We do ask that when we go north on the river to unload the boats that we just keep it to the parade participants themselves,” Delgado said.
“It's a tight area there that we have to get them in and out of the boat safely and be able to get them here to the park in time so the rest of the community can enjoy the parties.”
Law enforcement is also advising participants to stay hydrated during the event. Boaters are encouraged to have a designated driver and proper safety equipment, including life jackets for passengers.
“If you're planning on coming down, have a plan in place, try to get here early. I fully expect this to be a big crowd, we expect the citizens to come out and really enjoy the back-to-back Stanley Cup Championship,” Delgado said.
“I got a feeling that we're going to be doing a lot more of these here in the near future by the looks of our teams.”