Newly-Enacted RNA and Safety Zone near TZB

The U.S. Coast Guard recently approved a request from project officials to establish a safety zone, to be marked with buoys, around the construction area, which was discussed last fall during a boater safety roundtable.

New boater restrictions now in effect/U.S. Coast Guard

New boater restrictions now in effect/U.S. Coast Guard

Within the newly expanded Regulated Navigation Area (RNA) — 500 yards north and south of the main span — recreational boat speeds are limited to no more than five knots (5.8 miles per hour). The Safety Zone bans recreational boaters from a two-mile area along the Rockland shore where construction barges are located.

Both are explained below by Charles W. Rowe, U.S. Coast Guard Public Affairs, Sector New York.

The Safety Zone will be for the length of the project (to 2018)?

It will be in effect for as long as needed, depending upon the level of activity associated with the construction project. We are able to enforce the safety zone until construction is completed, which is projected to be 2018. Short answer is that it will be there as long as necessary to protect the public.

Where is the Safety Zone? From Nyack to Piermont?

What we want people to understand is that the RNA and the safety zone are for THEIR safety. Obey the rules in transiting the RNA and stay out of the safety zone. It is in their interest to do so. If recreational boaters will cooperate with the Coast Guard, we’ll do our best to keep them alive.

Will local marine units be responsible for fines, etc. if boaters are in the area?

Local law enforcement is working with the Coast Guard on enforcing transit restrictions within the RNA and on ensuring that boaters avoid the safety zone. Our purpose is preventive not punitive. We prefer to prevent violation of the rules governing the RNA and the safety zone as well as other applicable regulations that apply to recreational boating at all times and places. However, both the Coast Guard and local law enforcement will enforce the law and those who willfully violate it will be dealt with as appropriate.

Does the USCG cover times when there are no local marine patrols? Will the USCG add additional patrols?

We have a variety of prevention and enforcement tools in our tool box. We’ll use them all to keep the public safe. What we use and when very much depends upon local circumstances at any given moment.

And because most people don’t know . . . Passengers under 21 who are drinking on a boat will be arrested. It goes without saying that the skipper is prohibited by law from drinking while operating a vessel.

Boating Under the Influence is just as serious an offense on the water as on land. Be moderate, be sensible and you’ll live to boat another day.

How is the USCG enforcing New York State’s safe boating law, or is that up to local marine units to enforce?

We don’t enforce state laws but we do enforce federal regulations and those regulations include strictures on safe behavior, safe operation and safety equipment.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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