The Feb. 7 Bradenton Riverwalk Regatta was a disaster for those of us who own private boats. The regatta was billed as featuring the Manatee River, boat races, and demonstrations.
However, private watercraft were not allowed anywhere near where viewing would be possible. Literally hundreds of boaters were required to stay on the opposite side of bridges, some hundreds of feet from the action.
There were various "official" boats representing various police and Coast Guard agencies, and apparently they were not all on the same page. I personally called the Coast Guard the day before the regatta, and was told a completely different scenario than what actually was enforced.
Rules for safety were far too restrictive. There were plenty of completely safe viewing areas for pleasure craft.
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Hundreds of boaters left before the end of the day and will have unpleasant memories of the regatta.
I urge anyone who is involved in such decision-making to include input from those of us who are a big part of recreation in the Bradenton area.