Maritime speed limit imposed near Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — The Coast Guard has established a five-knot speed limit on the Piscataqua River near the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Seavey Island, Maine, October 15 to November 15, 2009, while Navy divers conduct underwater operations there.

The affected area is approximately a one-mile stretch between Henderson Point Light 10 and Badgers Island Buoy 14.

The speed limit, being put in place to eliminate wake that could harm the divers and their equipment, will be enforced when divers are working; periods expected to last about two to three hours at a time.

Starting Tuesday, the Coast Guard began making information broadcasts on VHF-FM channels 16 and 22 to remind mariners to transit the area at slow speeds when indicated by the “securite” broadcasts over VHF-FM channel 16. The Coast Guard will also broadcast the message every half hour while the divers are working.

“The divers are going to be working underwater near mobile pieces of heavy equipment that can easily shift when a boat’s wake passes by, so it’s extremely important that mariners obey the speed limit while they’re transiting through the area,” said Lt. j.g. Laura van der Pol, chief of the waterways management division at Sector Northern New England.

Additional information can be found in the Local Notice to Mariners or by calling the Coast Guard Sector Northern New England Command Center at (207) 767-0303.

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