Coast Guard establishes safety zone for New Year’s Eve celebration

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — The Coast Guard reminds boaters to exercise caution and practice safe boating within the waters of Central and Southern California harbors while enjoying the New Year’s holiday weekend.

The Coast Guard urges boaters not to launch or use fireworks aboard a vessel as they can be mistaken as a sign of distress, needlessly attracting Coast Guard and other rescue resources.

It is also important to avoid using safety flares as fireworks, as they are internationally recognized as a signal of distress. It is a federal felony for anyone to knowingly and willfully communicate a false distress message to the Coast Guard or cause the Coast Guard to save lives and property when help is not needed.

This includes, but is not limited to, firing flares in a non-distress situation or saying “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday” for a radio check. The firing of a flare in a non-emergency situation could result in a delayed response to a legitimate maritime emergency in a different location.

The Coast Guard encourages all boaters and beach goers to be aware of boat traffic, prepare for potential hazards, keep advised of weather changes through the National Weather Service and to monitor VHF-FM channel 16 for the most current safety advisories.

Coast Guard law enforcement crews will be patrolling, conducting safety checks and watching for people boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs or operating in an unsafe manner.

Boaters are also reminded to stay clear of fireworks displays staged from barges or shoreside facilities. Mariners can reference the charts above to identify the safety zones in place for the local area. No vessel or person will be permitted to operate in these safety zones without obtaining permission from the Captain of the Port or her designated representative. The general boating public will be notified prior to the enforcement of temporary safety zones via Broadcast Notice to Mariners.

In an effort to increase the safety of boaters on the water this holiday weekend, the Coast Guard recommends the following:

  • Boaters watching fireworks from the water should ensure that they are not impeding navigable channels.
  • Always wear a life jacket. Since there is little time to reach for stowed vests when accidents occur, wearing one at all times reduces the risk of drowning. Federal law requires mariners to have a personal floatation device aboard for each passenger.
  • Never boat under the influence. It is recommended that boaters have a designated sober operator, as it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. There are stringent penalties for violating BUI/BWI laws, which can include fines, suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges and jail terms. For more information on boating safety, visit

Please visit the NOAA Website for the most up-to-date information on weather broadcasts and storm advisories.

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