Coast Guard Reminds Boaters of Security Zones in San Francisco Bay

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Coast Guard is concerned about the safety of recreational boaters operating on the San Francisco Bay. In the weeks leading up to National Safe Boating Week, May 17-23, the Coast Guard will be holding demonstrations to illustrate safe boating practices. Boaters are encouraged to ensure that all lifesaving and communications equipment on their vessel are in good condition prior to getting underway.

Additionally, the Coast Guard reminds boaters that it periodically establishes safety zones, and maintains fixed security zones in certain specified areas of the San Francisco Bay, as well as around certain vessels that transit through the bay.

These security zones are necessary to ensure public safety and prevent sabotage or terrorist acts in specific locations. Boaters are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the following security zones that have been established and are in effect in the San Francisco Bay:


A 25-yard security zone is in place around all bridge abutments and piers for both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oakland Bay Bridge.


These security zones, marked by buoys, encompass 200 yards around San Francisco (SFO) and Oakland (OAK) International Airports in the navigable waters of the bay.


The security zone encompasses the waters 500 yards around the existing 3 piers when vessels are moored, and 100 yards all other times. Any or all of the pier security zones can be activated as necessary.


The security zone encompasses the waters surrounding the pier and extends out to the edge of the channel.


A 100-yard security zone is in place surrounding all cruise ships and tank vessels within the San Francisco, Monterey and Humboldt Bays. This security zone is in place both while the ship is in transit and while it is at the pier.


A security zone is in place around all U.S. Naval Vessels greater than 100-feet in length. This permanent protection zone extends 500-yards around all Naval Vessels and any vessels under contract with the Navy. All mariners must operate at minimum speed necessary and must stay out of the way. Military action will be taken if any mariner gets within 100 yards of any Naval Vessel.


In addition to the security zones established by the Coast Guard, there are Army Corps of Engineers Restricted Areas around the Coast Guard base on the east side of Yerba Buena Island due to bridge construction, and 500 feet around the MARAD fleet in Suisun Bay.

Entering, transiting through or anchoring within these security zones is prohibited, unless specifically authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port San Francisco Bay or his designated representative. Persons desiring to transit the area of a security zone may contact the Coast Guard at 415-399-3547 or on VHF channel 16 (156.8 MHz) to seek permission to transit the area. If permission is granted, all persons and vessels must comply with the instructions of the Captain of the Port or his designated representative.

Violations of any security zone or U.S. Naval Protection Zone are felony offenses, punishable by up to 6 years in prison and/or up to $250,000 in fines (criminal penalties) or $32,500 in fines (civil penalties).


Boaters are reminded that standard vessel safety and security zones are put in place not only for the vessels security, but also to ensure their safety, and the safety of the boating public. The Coast Guard is reminding boaters to adhere to these safety and security zones at all times.


The Coast Guard can institute a safety and security zone for special marine events, such as Fleet Week, to ensure the safety of vessel traffic.

Additionally, boaters are reminded to always be vigilant for suspicious activity while on the water. Such activities can be reported through the America’s Waterway Watch Program by calling the National Response Center at 877-24WATCH. More information about AWW can be found at or .

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