Coast Guard encourages boaters to stay ashore for Thunder Over Louisville event

Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley LogoDue to predicted river forecasts, Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley is strongly discouraging boaters from getting on the water this weekend for Thunder Over Louisville.

The National Weather Service has predicted that the water level at McAlpine Dam’s upper pool will be more than 24 feet by April 15, 2011. This will put the river in the Louisville metropolitan area at flood stage. These conditions could create strong and unpredictable currents and flooding in low lying areas.

The strong currents could make it difficult for recreational boats to maneuver and operate safely. Anchoring will be difficult. The strong currents will require a heavier anchor and more anchor chain or line than most boaters typically carry.

The high river conditions can also include large amounts of driftwood and debris. Drift and debris can damage boats, foul propellers or jam rudders. Drift and debris can be on or just below the surface of the water, where it is difficult to detect until the damage is done.

“When the water level reaches flood stage, conditions can become potentially dangerous for recreational boaters,” said Cmdr. Andrew Tucci, deputy commander, Sector Ohio Valley. “If the forecast continues as expected, we strongly advise boaters to stay off the river this year and enjoy the weekend’s festivities from land.”

The Coast Guard urges recreational boaters who decide to use the river to take the following precautions:

  • Wear a personal flotation device. Remember, a lifejacket can only save your life if you’re wearing it!
  • Dress appropriately for weather conditions. In addition to expected cool air temperatures, the river is currently at 42 degrees Fahrenheit. At these temperatures, hypothermia is a serious risk.
  • Be vigilant for large pieces of drift and debris in the river.
  • Make sure you have the proper type and size anchor for your vessel, and ensure that you have plenty of line or anchor chain. Makeshift anchors such as five-gallon buckets and cinderblocks will not hold on the river bottom. Be aware of vessels anchored around you and allow for swing in the anchor line.

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