Coast Guard urges adherance to safety recommendations and waterway regulations during OpSail 2012

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard encourages boaters to familiarize themselves with and follow safety recommendations and waterway regulations during Operation Sail 2012.

“Boaters are encouraged to enjoy the parades and fireworks show,” said Cmdr. Jerry Barnes, the chief of prevention at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads. “For everyone’s safety, we ask that all boaters be responsible, have designated lookouts, maintain safe speeds, practice good seamanship and be mindful of the safety and security zones in effect. These safety and security zones include no-wake zones within 500 yards and no entry zones within 100 yards of the participating U.S. naval vessels, tall ships and directly following the fireworks show.”

The Coast Guard will establish spectator vessel control points for safety reasons along the parade route prior to, during and after the parades and firework display.

Boaters must maintain a slow speed within 500 yards of a U.S. naval vessel greater than 100 feet in length.

Mariners are encouraged to monitor VHF-FM channels 16 and 13 and follow rules of the waterways throughout the duration of OpSail 2012 events, as there will be increased boating traffic.

Safety zones around the parade route will close portions of the Chesapeake Bay, Thimble Shoals Channel, James River, Elizabeth River Southern Branch and Elizabeth River Western Branch on Wednesday and Friday mornings.

Click the links below from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  Office of Coast Survey website for free downloadable charts that commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and illustrate waterways restrictions for the OpSail 2012 events.

Bicentennial War of 1812 Events Map and Calendar

Norfolk Harbor and Elizabeth River, Chart 12253

Hampton Roads, Chart 12245

Chesapeake Bay, Chart 12254 – Cape Henry to Thimble Shoal Light

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