Coast Guard urges waterside concert goers to bring their lights

9th Coast Guard District News

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Coast Guard Sector Buffalo is issuing a reminder Thursday to recreational boaters that they must understand the need to come prepared to concerts in the Buffalo Outer Harbor.

The next concerts in the harbor are scheduled for Friday and Sunday.

“Too many people are showing up to waterside events, in kayaks and canoes, expecting to stay well past sunset, and without a light onboard, these paddle-driven vessels will be sent home, prior to sunset,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Tom D’Amore, executive petty officer at Coast Guard Station Buffalo.

“I realize that people are expecting to enjoy Buffalo’s waterfront, but it cannot be done at the cost of a life.”

Navigation rule 25, the portion that lays out requirements for sailing vessels underway and vessels under oar power, states that: “a vessel under oars may exhibit the lights prescribed in this rule for sailing vessels, but if she does not, she shall have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.”

All navigation rules can be found on the Coast Guard Navigation Center’s Navigation Rules Online website.

Those who violate rule 25 can be subject to civil penalties up to $6,500, and may also be found guilty of additional civil and criminal violations, so fines could exceed that amount. In addition to these fines, a boater may be held accountable for costs of cleanup or reimbursement should it be found their actions led to a spill, damages, injuries, or loss of life.

On some occasions, motorized vessels have had to take evasive action to avoid unlit recreational vessels navigating the channel. While most mariners are generally conscientious of their surroundings, trying to maneuvering around unlit smaller boats greatly compromises safe navigation.

Recreational vessels are permitted to operate in the slip next to the concert and transit the navigable ship channel leading to it, but they must comply with all the navigation rules.

The Coast Guard will continue to protect mariners, property and the environment by working with mariners to address this issue and enforce boating laws.


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