Coast Guard stepping up safety enforcement for Riverfest and Cincinnati Bell/WEBN Fireworks

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CINCINNATI — Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Cincinnati and partner agencies will be increasing patrols throughout the Ohio River this Labor Day weekend to keep revelers safe and compliant with boating laws.

This weekend is historically known to be one of the busiest boating periods as boaters take to the water to enjoy the long weekend and to view the Cincinnati Bell/WEBN Fireworks.

The Coast Guard reminds boaters of the importance of safe boating during the weekend, particularly Sunday during Riverfest, where there will be an estimated 2,000 recreational boats on the Ohio River.

The increased recreational traffic will present additional safety hazards. The Coast Guard has implemented a special local regulation to include enforcement of a no-wake zone, designated anchorage areas and a cardboard boat race area to minimize safety concerns associated with the on-water events and increased boating traffic.

In addition, there will be a safety zone for the fireworks display that will result in a river closure.

The river closure will be in effect from mile marker 469.2 to mile marker 470.5 on the Ohio River from 7 p.m. until the end of the fireworks display Sunday.  Entry into, transit within, or anchoring in the zone is prohibited by all vessels unless specifically authorized by the on-scene Coast Guard patrol commander.

No Wake Zone: The no-wake zone will be enforced from 12 p.m. Sunday to 3 a.m Monday. Vessels transiting from mile marker 476 to mile marker 464 on the Ohio River and mile marker 0.0 to mile marker 3.0 on the Licking River shall operate at a no-wake speed and may only stop or anchor in one of three designated anchorage areas.

Anchorage 1: Ohio River at mile marker 470.5 to 470.7 and 300 feet from shore on the Kentucky shoreline.

Anchorage 2: Ohio River at mile marker 469.6 to 469.2 and 300 feet from shore on the Ohio shoreline.

Anchorage 3: Ohio River at mile marker 469.6 to 469.2 and 300 feet from shore on the Kentucky shoreline.

Cardboard boat race area: No vessel may transit within 300 feet of the Ohio shoreline within mile marker 469.8 and mile marker 470.0 from 12 p.m to 3 p.m., Sunday to ensure safety of the Cardboard boat race occurring along the Serpentine Wall.

Safety tips for boaters before leaving the dock:

Wear a life jacket. A life jacket is required for each person aboard a vessel, sized accordingly and easily accessible. Children younger than 13 years old are required by federal law to wear a life jacket at all times.

Carry a VHF-FM marine-band radio.  Boaters should have an operational marine VHF radio on their boat in order to contact the Coast Guard in the event of an emergency.

In lieu of a VHF-FM marine radio, a fully charged cell phone is recommended. In the event of an emergency the Coast Guard can be reached on VHF-FM channel 16 or at 800-253-7465.

Have a Vessel Safety Check. It’s a great way of learning about problems that might put boaters in violation of state or federal laws, or create danger for boaters and passengers on the water. The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free vessel safety checks and can be reached at

Never boat under the influence. Alcohol is the leading contributing factor of all fatal boating accidents. It is against the law for anyone to operate a vessel on the water under the influence of alcohol.

Consumption of alcohol by anyone else aboard is strongly discouraged.


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