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Coast Guard Urges Public to Practice Safe Boating During New York Fleet Week

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NEW YORK  — The Coast Guard encourages members of the public to review and participate
in safe boating practices during National Safe Boating Week and New York Fleet Week 2022.
In conjunction with National Safe Boating Week, Fleet Week will take place in New York from
May 25 to May 31.  Fleet Week recognizes and honors military members and is historically a
busy weekend for the boating community.

Fleet Week also means an increase in military vessels and maritime traffic in New York harbor
and the Hudson River. The Coast Guard asks the public to be aware of the following information
pertaining to Naval Vessel Protection Zones:

  • Understand naval vessel protection zones 33 CFR § 165.2030 (b). A naval vessel
    protection zone is a 500-yard regulated area of water surrounding large U.S. naval
    vessels that is necessary to provide for the safety or security of these U.S. naval
    vessels. A naval vessel protection zone exists around U.S. naval vessels greater than
    100 feet in length overall at all times in the navigable waters of the United States,
    whether the large U.S. naval vessel is underway, anchored, moored, or within a
    floating dry dock, except when the large naval vessel is moored or anchored within a
    restricted area or within a naval defensive sea area. To request authorization to operate
    within 100 yards of a large U.S. naval vessel, contact the Coast Guard, the senior naval
    officer present in command, or the official patrol on VHF-FM channel 16.

There will be an enforced security zone around Pier 86 to Pier 90 in Manhattan, and around
Homeport Pier in Staten Island from May 25 to May 31.

“We are excited about Fleet Week returning after having been gone for two years and we want
people to come out and enjoy the events and festivities, but we want them to do so safely,
particularly if they are on the water,” said Capt. Zeita Merchant, Coast Guard Sector New York
commander. “So come out and see all the Coast Guard, the Navy and the Marine Corps has to
offer, but take the necessary steps to ensure you have a safe experience for you and your
families.”

It’s important to note that regardless of the external air temperature, water temperatures may be
potentially lower by 10 degree or more. Boaters should always be prepared and dress for the
water temperatures, not the air temperature.

In addition, the Coast Guard encourages the public to review these key safe boating tips in
advance of the summer boating season:

  • Always wear a life jacket. There is usually very little time to reach for stowed vests
    when accidents occur. Wearing one at all times reduces the risk of drowning. Federal
    law requires mariners to have a personal flotation device aboard for each passenger. 
  • Have sufficient means of communication including a VHF radio. VHF channel 16 is
    the international hailing and distress frequency and can be used to reach the Coast
    Guard during emergencies.
  • Large commercial and military ships have the right-of-way over smaller and more
    maneuverable boats on the water. It is illegal, according to Rule 9 of the Inland and
    International Rules of the Road, for boats less than 65 feet in length to impede the
    passage of these ships or to cross in front of these ships that impede their passage.
  • Be on the lookout for illegal charters. If the vessel is carrying six or more passengers, it
    must have a valid Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection. Passengers can ask the captain
    of the vessel to verify their license and the inspection status of the boat.
  • Do not carry more passengers than a boat is designed for. Check the boat’s maximum
    capacity plate (if equipped). Do not carry more passengers or more weight than the
    boat is designed for. Overloading can cause the boat to ride lower in the water, reduce
    the vessel’s stability and greatly increase the chance of capsizing. Additionally, too
    much weight on one side of the boat can cause the vessel to list and increase the
    chances of capsizing.
  • Never boat under the influence. It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence
    of alcohol or drugs. There are stringent penalties for violating BUI/BWI laws, which
    can include large fines, suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges and jail
    terms.
  • Never turn your back on the water. There are strong rip currents along the Pacific
    coast, and sneaker waves are common.
  • Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. Even if boaters do not plan
    to enter the water, they should be prepared for an emergency. Paddleboarders, kayakers
    and wind surfers who are likely to go in the water should wear a wetsuit to decrease
    their risk of hypothermia and a life jacket to prevent them from drowning before
    rescuers can get on scene.
  • File a float plan. A float plan is simply letting family and friends know where you are
    going and your expected time of return. File a float plan with someone who is not
    getting underway with you and stick to the plan. A float plan assists responders in the
    search of an overdue boater who may be in distress. Float plans can be filed through
    the Coast Guard’s safety app using the following link: https://floatplancentral.cgaux.org/ 

For more boating information, go to http://www.uscgboating.org/ and for weather conditions
please visit http://www.weather.gov/.

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