Gasparilla sailing route changed due to rough weather; boaters 'strongly discouraged' from participating

Rough seas aren't scaring away pirates determined to invade Tampa this weekend – but the anticipated inclement weather is changing their sailing route into Tampa Bay.

Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla made the announcement Friday afternoon that, out of an abundance of caution, their sailing route for Saturday's Gasparilla invasion would be revised.

Beginning at noon, the Jose Gasparilla pirate ship, led by Captain Peter Lackman, will sail up the Ybor Channel, around Harbour Island and into the Seddon Channel before arriving at the Tampa Convention Center. That's where the pirates will command Mayor Jane Castor to surrender the key to the city at 1 p.m.

READ: Gasparilla parade forecast: Wind chill, rough chop in Tampa Bay during pirate invasion

With wind gusts and a rough chop in the forecast for Tampa Bay, Tampa police and organizers are encouraging residents to watch the invasion from land instead of from the water, as conditions will be rough. Small vessels are "strongly discouraged" from participating in this year's flotilla.

Anyone considering boating on parade day is urged to monitor weather and small craft advisories, and to carefully follow any recommendations made by the U.S. Coast Guard and law enforcement.

FOX 13’s meteorologists are expecting one of the coldest Gasparillas on record. There won’t be rain, but temperatures will struggle to get out of the 50s. However, the forecast wind chills will be in the 30s almost all day long. 

GUIDE: Gasparilla guide to parking, rideshare, & public transit