The USS Independence has safely arrived at the Port of St. Petersburg. While there are no free tickets left for tours aboard the USS Independence this weekend, the public will still be able to view the ship from areas near the Port of St. Petersburg. Pedestrian viewing will be allowed along the seawall at the rear of the USF College of Marine Science Center, near 140 Seventh Ave. S. Limited free parking on the USF campus surface lots only will be available Sunday and Monday, September 4 and 5.
Free tickets for the tours were distributed to the public in less than an hour from the Mahaffey Theater Box Office yesterday. No more than 150 people will be on board the ship at one time due to narrow passages and stairways and tours will be timed in order to manage crowds and allow everyone to see the warship’s unique features. Ticketholders should arrive at the Mahaffey Theater parking garage one hour prior to the time printed on their ticket, where they will board a shuttle that will take them to the Port. No one will be allowed on board the Port shuttle without a ticket. Parking in the Theater garage will cost $5 per vehicle Saturday through Monday during public tour hours. Restrooms inside the Mahaffey Theater parking garage and at the Port will be open for public use during tour hours. Cameras are encouraged. Almost all areas of the ship are able to be photographed. Tour guides will specify where photographs are prohibited.
The tour includes steep stairs and some non-air conditioned spaces, and is not advisable for individuals with restricted mobility or health issues. The ship is not able to facilitate those who cannot walk unencumbered under their own power. Sturdy, closed-toe, flat shoes are recommended, as are pants or shorts for ease of movement. Due to safety considerations, only people ages eight and older will be allowed on the tour.