Passengers aboard the Bay Spirit II catamaran during an Educational Harbor Tour at Port Tampa Bay.

Through its partnership with The Florida Aquarium, Port Tampa Bay provides free 75-minute Educational Harbor Tours twice a week on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. These tours assist the community with understanding the economic importance of Port Tampa Bay, which handles more than 37 million tons of cargo a year and is considered Florida’s largest port. In addition, Port Tampa Bay has an $18 billion impact on the region and affects 85,000 direct as well as indirect jobs.

Lisa Wolf-Chason, director of communications at Port Tampa Bay, shared what participants will learn during their narrated tour.

“They will learn about our cruise operations, what some of the port’s major tenants bring through our port and about its history in our community,” Wolf-Chason said.

Passengers will be touring Hooker’s Point while riding the Bay Spirit II catamaran. Hooker’s Point displays the port’s container terminals, fuel terminals and more. During the tour, passengers may even get a chance to observe containers being taken off giant container ships by crane. Wolf-Chason stated that, according to the American Association of Port Authorities, 95 percent of goods one uses does travel through a seaport.

With the seating capacity limited to 60 passengers, those interested in the tour must make an advanced reservation. Upon completion of every reservation, a confirmation email will be sent with instructions. Participants will also meet at the huge manta ray statue at the entrance of The Florida Aquarium.

As part of the safety protocols being implemented with the COVID-19 pandemic, face coverings and social distancing will be required throughout the entire tour. In regards to youth and school groups, a variety of guidelines will need to be adhered to.

“Overall, Port Tampa Bay is the energy gateway of Florida and nearly half of the state’s fuel comes through our port,” Wolf-Chason said. “With that in mind, most people have no idea that such an important part of their daily lives sits in their own backyard,” she added.

For more information or to book a tour, visit or call 905-7678.

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.