Coast Guard reminds boaters about the Naval Protection Zone

SAN DIEGO — Due to a recent violation of a Naval Vessel Protection Zone (NVPZ), the Coast Guard would like to remind boaters to stay clear of U.S. Naval vessels. NVZP’s are in effect around all large U.S. Navy vessels. The Coast Guard and Navy security forces routinely escort U.S. Naval vessels during their transit within San Diego Bay. The purpose of the NVPZ escorts are to protect U.S. Naval vessels from threats. Accordingly, mariners shall abide by the directions given by Coast Guard, Navy, or other law enforcement personnel involved in the escorts.

The NVPZ is a 500 yard regulated area of water surrounding large U.S. Naval vessels that is necessary to provide for the safety and security of these vessels. All vessels within 500 yards of a U.S. Naval vessel must operate at minimum speed and proceed as directed by the Coast Guard or the Navy. Under no circumstances shall vessels approach within 100 yards of a large U.S. Naval vessel without the explicit direction of the escort patrol commander. Those rare exceptions may include situations that pose safety hazards, such as, ensuring safe passage in accordance with the Navigation Rules. Under similar conditions, commercial vessels anchored in a designated anchorage area may be permitted to remain at anchor within 100 yards of passing U.S. Navy vessels at the discretion of the escort patrol commander.

Mariners who violate a Naval Vessel Protection Zone will be perceived as a threat, and will face an appropriate level of response, up to and including deadly force. Violators are subject to arrest, felony prosecution, and, if convicted, imprisonment for up to six years and a fine of up to $250,000.

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