Coast Guard reduces river closures

PADUCAH, Ky. — The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, in partnership with local, state and federal officials, significantly reduced the closed portions of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, Friday, for recreational boaters to two miles above and below Kentucky and Barkley dams. Recreational boaters are allowed to operate on all other portions of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers.

Heavy rain falls over the past weekend throughout the Tennessee Valley have necessitated record high water discharge rates from dams along both river systems, creating hazardous river conditions, strong currents and dangerous suction for recreational vessels in the vicinity of these dams. The dangers created by these high discharge rates are many, including swift river currents, heavy debris flows, spilled hazardous materials, and submerged objects including break walls, boat docks, and piers. These extreme flows have also made the navigation buoys in the area unreliable.

Persons found in violation of the safety zones can be fined under U.S. Code 33. The maximum penalty for violating a safety zone is $32,500.00.

Boaters are reminded that any wake given off by their vessel during high water can be extremely dangerous and damaging. Vessels should operate at the slowest safe speed while transiting in and out of bays and marinas. Boaters are highly encouraged to operate during daylight hours only due to the hazards associated with submerged objects.

The Coast Guard also reminds boaters to always where their life jackets, file a float plan with a family member, friend or marina, to carry a marine radio, and possess emergency signaling devices

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