Coast Guard reminds boaters not to block navigational channel during Blues Festival

PORTLAND, Ore. — Coast Guard crews are reminding boaters and other waterway users in the Portland and Vancouver, Washington, area to keep the navigational channel open during the Blues Festival scheduled from Thursday through Sunday.

The annual Blues Festival regularly brings a large amount of recreational vessel traffic in the vicinity of Waterfront Park between the Hawthorne Bridge and the Marquam (I-5) Bridge that in recent years has impeded commercial vessel traffic and delayed firework displays.

The Navigational Rules and Regulations Rule 9 states in part – A vessel of less than 20 meters in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway; shall not cross a narrow passage or fairway if such crossing impedes the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within such channel; or a vessel shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid anchoring in a narrow channel.

“Our goal is to ensure all waterway users remain safe while on the waterway,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dixon Whitley, chief waterway management, Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland. “We ask for cooperation from all waterway users to keep the main shipping channels clear. We intend to enforce ‘Rule 9’ of the Navigation Rules and Regulations.”

Commercial vessel traffic is anticipated all weekend so recreational users of the Willamette River are advised to remain outside the marked channel as close to the western shore as possible, unless transiting, especially during the Blues Festival.

To ensure the safety of those that use the Portland waterways for commercial and recreational purposes, Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel will be conducting routine patrols during the weekend and enforcing a safety zone so the traditional fireworks show can be conducted safely and without delay.

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