Winter Serves as No Deterrent for Waterfront

Even in the winter months, Florida’s tropical setting provides no limit on recreational activities. The USF St. Petersburg Waterfront Office holds many activities, adventures and educational classes that encourage students to take advantage of the open water – even in the middle of winter.

As the end of the semester approaches, students looking to temporarily escape academic pressures can turn to the Waterfront Office. Check out all of the adventure trips that explore Florida’s natural beauty while navigating some of Tampa Bay’s famous coastal corridors:

Keelboat Overnight Sailing Trip – Nov. 21, 22, 23. Leave Tampa Bay and drift into the Gulf of Mexico after making a brief stops at Egmont Key and other small beaches. The trip spans three days and two nights, providing ample time to escape the rigors of the classroom. This will be the last trip of the fall semester, but it will resume again in the spring.

The Eco-Cruise – Nov. 20. Enjoy a more relaxing option for less adventurous students seeking a jaunt on an uneventful weekend. Students can learn about Florida’s wildlife and conservation efforts from other passengers including representatives from the USGS and FWC. The trip provides a relaxing atmosphere, but also an educational one as it highlights environmental awareness and activism.

Snorkel and Kayak Day Trip – Trips will resume in the spring semester, in which students can travel to Crystal River in order to dive down into some of Florida’s most beautiful natural springs and interact first-hand with native wildlife, as USF St. Petersburg graduate student M.K. Bradley did. “I really enjoyed it. The water was crystal clear and we saw a lot of manatees that made the trip a great experience. It was my first time, but I would definitely go again.”

If the above activities sound fun, but the only thing stopping you is a lack of formal training, do not fret. Listed below are many of the instructional classes that the Waterfront Office provides to make you feel more comfortable on the open water:

Intro to Kitesurfing – Nov. 14 and 21. Learn how to master the wind and waves of the Gulf of Mexico by acquiring the skills and technique assured to make you a pro.

Fishing Clinic – Offered various dates and times. Achieve awesome angler status by learning the technique of tying knots, reading tides and knowing the tendencies of Tampa Bay’s native fish species in order to score a big catch.

Scuba Diving – Beginner and advanced classes are offered and will resume during the spring semester. Classes are composed of lecture, instruction, and in-water sessions that build up to eventual open-water dives.

Lifeguard Training – Class resumes during spring semester. Learn the skills necessary to become a certified American Red Cross Lifeguard. Certification includes Lifeguard, First Aid, CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer taught in a 30-hour course.

Learn to Sail – Class resumes in the spring semester. A great instructional course designed to educate students about the composition of a sailboat and the proper technique of how to sail in order to achieve the best results on the water.

Kayak and Canoe Smart Start – Nov.13 and 20. This class is designed to educate students about one-person vessels commonly seen in Tampa Bay waters. The class will stress safety issue of going out on the water alone, but will also teach essential skills such as paddling and how to handle the boats.

Basic Water Rescue – Classes resume during the spring semester. Learn vital skills such as CPR, as well as how to respond to and prevent aquatic emergencies. Successful completion of the course leads to American Red Cross Certification.

“Students enjoy a lot of the different activities,” Student Life Coordinator at the Waterfront Teresa Przetocki said. “Everything, including the instructional classes and adventures cost money, but it is a minimal amount so students can enjoy themselves.”

For more information, visit the USF St. Petersburg Waterfront Office website at http://www.stpt.usf.edu/waterfront/events.htm.

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