The folks at Tampa Bay's online magazine, 83 Degrees, took a ride on Tampa eBoats and fell in love with the unique perspective the boats offer on our fair community.
They provide a rundown of 12 things you can see from an e-Boat. Having piloted an e-Boat myself,I can say that the electric boats -- available for rent at the docks outside Tampa Convention Center -- are a great way to explore downtown and definitely give you a new perspective on the area. The best part is: the boats are low-powered and casual enough that even a landlubber like myself can drive one confidently after a quick lesson.
An e-Boat can already get you to waterfront dining at Rick's on the River, a short run up the Hillsborough River. Soon, it'll also get you to Ulele and Water Works Park, where the City of Tampa is installing new docks.
Some of the highlights from 83 Degrees day of sightseeing on the water:
Get a new angle on Tampa Bay's newly completed waterfront thoroughfare. The new Kennedy Boulevard Plaza, with its sail-like canopies and seating areas, is particularly nice from the water. Wave to the folks on shore -- Tampa Bay's a friendly place.
Dolphins, manatees and seabirds are all around you when you're on the water in Tampa Bay -- a reminder that just beyond the skyscrapers and sidewalks, the river and bay are still very much wild spaces. Tread gently for the sake of our aquatic neighbors, particularly the manatees.
See all that graffiti on the seawalls? That gets there each winter when college rowing teams from the Northeast and Midwest flock to Tampa Bay for tournament at a time when their venues up north are frozen over. During the rest of the year, rowers in their graceful long boats ply the river and bay almost every day -- some from local high schools, others from rowing clubs or lone rowers out for a bit of exercise. Beats a machine in the gym.
Some of Tampa Bay's most iconic buildings are visible from the water. You can admire the sweeping facade of the sprawling Tampa Convention Center -- one of the few waterfront convention centers in the country -- then ponder the cylindrical Rivergate Tower, which was designed using the Fibonacci mathematical sequence. Across the river from Rivergate, you can take in the silver domed minarets of historic Plant Hall, once the Gilded Age resort known as the Tampa Bay Hotel. Back on the east side of the river, check out the ultra-modern Tampa Museum of Art perched above the river and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. The museum's perforated metal skin shimmers each night with the lighted art installation "Sky (Tampa)" by New York-based artist Leo Villareal. Which brings us to ...
Lights on Tampa
From dusk to dawn, downtown's waterfront glows with shifting hues of colored lights. From the river, you can see Agua Luces, an artwork that lights downtown's five bridges in a rotating spectrum of color. The Tampa Riverwalk's canopies are also alight at night, as is the Aloft Downtown Tampa hotel, Tampa Museum of Art and parts of Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Taking out the last eBoat of the day will show you a side of Tampa Bay day-time visitors miss out on.