Coast Guard reminds boaters of cruise ship, ferry security rules

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard is reminding mariners and recreational boaters to avoid approaching large passenger vessels (LPV), such as cruise ships and Washington State Ferries, whether these vessels are underway, moored or at anchor.

An LPV is defined as any cruise ship, auto ferry or passenger ferry over 100 feet in length, carrying paying passengers. This includes Washington State Ferries and Alaskan Marine Highway ferries. The security zone enforced by the Coast Guard is a 500 yard radius around all LPV’s and are necessary to enhance public and maritime safety. These safety and security zones are in effect at all times whether or not the Coast Guard is present.

Specifically the Code of Federal Regulations states that:

When within a large passenger vessel security and safety zone all vessels must operate at the minimum speed necessary to maintain a safe course and must proceed as directed by the on-scene official patrol or large passenger vessel master. No vessel or person is allowed within 100 yards of a large passenger vessel that is underway or at anchor, unless authorized by the on-scene official patrol or large passenger vessel master. No vessel or person is allowed within 25 yards of a large passenger vessel that is moored.

To request authorization to operate within 100 yards of a large passenger vessel that is underway or at anchor, contact the on-scene official patrol or large passenger vessel master on VHF-FM channel 16 or 13.

There are exceptions to this rule which are outlined in the full regulatory text, found in Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 165.1317 and is available online.

For further questions or assistance please contact Lieutenant James Dupureur of Coast Guard Sector Seattle at 206-217-6138.

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