Coast Guard stresses boating safety during Norfolk Harborfest 2022

Norfolk, Va. — Coast Guard crews will be conducting safety patrols and enforcing safety zones during Norfolk Harborfest 2022 to ensure the safety of the public and the mariners participating in the event June 10-12 at Town Point Park at the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront, Virginia.

This event is expected to draw a large number of spectator vessels in the vicinity of Town Point Reach. To assist in maintaining a safe waterway, Coast Guard Sector Virginia crews will be enforcing a safety zone limiting the use of the Elizabeth River Channel from Friday, June 10, through Sunday, June 12, 2022. Additional details are listed below:

Waterway closures will be in effect during the following dates and times:

  • June 10, 1:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. during a search and rescue demonstration
  • June 10, 9:15 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. during a drone show
  • June 11, 1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. during a search and rescue demonstration
  • June 11 (rain date), 8:15 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. for a drone show

Additionally, a fireworks safety zone will be in effect during the following dates and times:

  • June 11, 9:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m.
  • June 12 (rain date), 9:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m.

During these times, vessels will be directed not to enter the regulated area. Operators must stop their vessel immediately upon being directed to do so and must proceed as directed by any law enforcement vessels. A Coast Guard patrol will be on scene monitoring VHF channels 13 and 16 during these events. Mariners are requested to use extreme caution when transiting Town Point Reach.

The Coast Guard recommends mariners heed the following safety tips below to help ensure their safety while on the water:

  • Always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while underway. 80% of boating deaths are due to drowning and 86% of those victims were not wearing a life jacket. Just like there’s no time to put on a seatbelt in an automobile crash, people do not typically have time to locate and put on a life jacket during an emergency.
  • Make sure your life jacket is properly fitted. People can slip out of improperly-fitted life jackets when they hit the water, which decreases their chances of survival.
  • Don’t drink and boat. Aside from wearing a life jacket, not drinking and boating is one of the easiest ways to prevent accidental deaths on the water. People operating vessels under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or impairing medication pose a serious threat to you and anyone else aboard.
  • Make a VHF radio your go-to means of communicating in an emergency. Cell phones may go out of range or lose battery power when needed most. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the operation of your radio.
  • Take a boating safety course. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is one of many organizations that offer valuable boating safety courses ranging from electronic navigation to boat handling.
  • Get a vessel safety check. The Coast Guard Auxiliary provides free boating safety checks. Get a free safety inspection from the Coast Guard Auxiliary to make sure you have all the gear and safety equipment required by your state and federal laws.
  • Check the weather and tides before you head out. It might look like a nice day, but squalls and shifting tides can change suddenly.
  • File a float plan. Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. Float plans provide a starting point to help find you if something happens.
  • Dress for the water, not for the weather. Check water temperatures before you go out and dress accordingly.
  • Know your navigation rules. Know how to properly navigate waterways and maintain lookouts to keep yourself and everyone else around you safe.
  • Locator beacons can help us find you faster. Attaching a functioning emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) to your boat, or a personal EPIRB (PPIRB) to your life jacket, and knowing how to use them can help rescuers locate and assist you. In order to be most effective, these should be registered with the owner’s information and emergency contacts.

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