Coast Guard encourages boating safety during Thunder Over Louisville

A 25-foot Response boat - Small from Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley patrols by the Belle of Louisville during the Centennial Festival of Riverboats, Oct. 15, 2014. The Coast Guard provided riverside security and escorted the riverboats during the festival. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Vega.)

A 25-foot Response boat – Small from Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley patrols by the Belle of Louisville. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Vega.)

LOUISVILLE, Ky., — The Thunder Over Louisville air show and fireworks event marks the official kick-off to the Kentucky Derby Festival, Saturday.

This year, however, some local boat ramps may be inaccessible or closed due to the high water levels and large amounts of debris in the Ohio River may create a hazards to navigation. In addition, high water levels increase current flow, or the speed of the river, which is particularly hazardous immediately upriver from the Falls of the Ohio.

The Coast Guard highly recommends boaters take appropriate precautions if they choose to enjoy the festivities from the water. This includes double-checking that required equipment such as visual distress signals, personal flotation devices and a fire extinguisher are present and in working condition. As a reminder, never boat under the influence of alcohol, submit a float plan, and always wear your lifejackets.

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