Coast Guard sets security zone for Blue Angels Airshow in Pensacola

NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard is scheduled to set up two temporary safety zones in portions of the Gulf of Mexico and the Santa Rosa Sound during the Annual Pensacola Beach Air Show over the Gulf of Mexico at Pensacola Beach, Florida, July 7 and 8 from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., Thursday.

The Gulf of Mexico safety zone includes all waters 1.75 nautical miles east and 1.5 nautical miles west of position 30° 19’ 36” North, 087° 08’ 23” West in the vicinity of the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier and extending 1000 yards south of Pensacola Beach creating a box. This safety zone is for the protection of people and vessels on navigable waters during the air show.

No person or vessel may enter or remain in the safety zone, except for persons or vessels authorized by the Coast Guard patrol commander, event sponsor-designated participants and official patrol vessels. Official patrol vessels enforcing this zone can be contacted on marine radio VHF-FM channel 16.

The safety zone for a portion of Santa Rosa Sound includes all waters from Deer Point to Sharp Point and all waters within Little Sabine Bay. Vessels in this safety zone must proceed at a minimum safe speed. A new safety measure this year is a 200-yard no-wake-zone around the Highway 399 Bob Sikes Bridge that will be enforced while the safety zone is in effect during the rehearsal and show dates. Vessels seeking to enter Little Sabine Bay for the two hours immediately following the air shows must contact the on-scene captain of the port designated representative via VHF channel 16 for authorization. This safety zone is needed in order to protect spectator vessels during and immediately following the Air Shows.

The Coast Guard is recommending that all vessels transiting the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from mile marker 177.0 to 179.0 between Naval Air Station Pensacola and Robertson Island restrict their vessels to a safe speed and safe operation.

The Intracoastal Waterway land cut, a hazardous bottleneck that both commercial and recreational vessels travel that is roughly 100 yards wide also may become overly crowded and dangerous as a result so boaters should maintain a safe speed and proper lookout upon completion of the Air Show. General geographic location/description is: Intracoastal Waterway Land Cut, Intracoastal Waterway Red “4” northeast end of Admirals Island to Intracoastal Waterway Red “8” entrance to Naval Air Station Sherman Cove.

To keep the boaters safe, the Coast Guard patrol commander can control the movement of all vessels in the safety zone and may forbid entry. When hailed or signaled by an official patrol vessel, a vessel in the zone is required to immediately comply with the directions given.

Uncooperative boaters will be expelled from the zone, cited for failure to comply or both.

The Coast Guard may be assisted in the patrol and enforcement of safety zones by federal, state and local agencies. All concerned traffic may contact the Coast Guard on VHF-FM Channel 16, the patrol commander in Coast Guard Station Pensacola at 850-453-8282 or Coast Guard Sector Mobile captain of the port at 251-441-5976.

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