Coast Guard establishes safety zone for 2010 San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

San Diego Bay Safety ZoneSAN DIEGO – A U.S. Coast Guard safety zone will be in effect in San Diego Bay during the holiday parades of lights to be held on Sunday, Dec. 12, and Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010.

The San Diego Bay parade of lights safety zone will encompass all navigable waters within 150 yards of the parade route and participating vessels. The parade route begins near the west side of Shelter Island, north of the shipping channel, and continues south along the Embarcadero, then turns west toward the Coronado Bridge near the Convention Center, and ends near the Coronado ferry terminal. The safety zone will be in effect from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. both days.

People and vessels, including personal watercraft and small paddled craft, are prohibited from entering into, transiting through, or anchoring within the safety zone unless authorized by the Coast Guard patrol commander who will be reachable on marine-band radio channel 16.

In addition to the safety zone and to facilitate the safe passage of parade participants and spectator boats, vessel traffic will be limited into or out of marinas adjacent to the parade route beginning at 5:00 p.m. both days. Marinas affected are:

  • The marinas within America’s Cup Harbor
  • 10th Street Pier
  • north and south Embarcadero marinas
  • east and west Harbor Island yacht basins

“In order to see the parade from the water spectator boats should leave their respective marina in time to be clear of the marina entry and exit points by 5 p.m.,” said Cmdr. Mike LeonGuerrerra of Coast Guard Sector San Diego. “Spectator boats must view the parade from the spectator boat viewing area. Event organizers will provide committee boats marked with a large ‘committee’ banner and yellow flashing lights to mark the parade route and perimeter,” he said. The spectator boat viewing area will be south (channel side) of the line of committee boats. Spectator boats must remain 150 yards from the parade vessels while the parade is ongoing.

Also, before the parade begins, the participating boats will be staged at the beginning of the parade route, in the vicinity of the west end of Shelter Island. The same 150-yard safety zone will be in effect around participant vessels during this time. Vessels in the parade of lights will be outfitted with holiday lights and decorations and may cause visual confusion with normal navigational lights. Due to the large number of vessels expected to participate in and observe the parade, boaters are urged to exercise safe boating practices in the congested waters.

The Parade of Lights will also include a fireworks demonstration launched from a barge that will be positioned south of Harbor Island. An additional safety zone will be in effect 500 feet surrounding the fireworks tug and barge for the same dates and times as the parade route safety zones.

Coast Guard and San Diego Harbor Police vessels with official markings and blue law enforcement lights will be on patrol to enforce the safety zone, as well as to provide law enforcement and emergency response. Coast Guard Auxiliary vessels with yellow and red flashing lights will assist in maintaining the safety zone. All perimeter and patrol vessels will have informational flyers indicating the area of the safety zone and event status.

While on the water, boaters are encouraged to make contact with the vessels enforcing the safety zone if they need any information, and in the event of an emergency contact the Coast Guard on marine band radio channel 16 or dial 911.

Parade organizers are dedicating this year’s parades to the memory of Anthony DeWeese. The eight-year-old boy died, and several other people were injured, following a collision between a Coast Guard patrol boat and a civilian spectator vessel during last year’s event.

“We extend our deepest condolences to families, friends and loved ones of everyone affected by the tragedy,” said Capt. Thomas Farris, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Diego. “The Coast Guard, San Diego Harbor Police, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and parade committee vessels will be on the water to help ensure safe, secure and enjoyable parades,” he said.

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