Boater safety, security enforced during OpSail, Sailfest

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection reminds boaters to follow safety rules and obey security zones around all the ships that will be in New London and Niantic for OpSail and Sailfest today through Monday.

Entry into these areas will be strictly enforced, and passage will be forbidden without proper permission, DEEP said in a news release.

During OpSail and Sailfest, boaters should expect channel closures and restricted anchor zones.

Any boat operator asked to move his or her vessel is asked to cooperate with officials.

The Coast Guard has established temporary local regulations governing the navigable waters of Niantic Bay, Long Island Sound, the Thames River and New London Harbor for the events. This action will restrict vessel traffic in portions of Niantic Bay, Long Island Sound, the Thames River and New London Harbor unless authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Sector Long Island Sound.

These rules are effective until 5 p.m. Monday and will be enforced during the following dates and times:

• Naval Vessel Security Zones will be enforced. Vessels are not to enter within 500 yards of any vessels within the security zone and should operate at a minimum speed within 100 yards of the security zone.

• A security zone also will be enforced at the Admiral Shear State Pier.

• A fireworks safety zone will be enforced from 8:30 p.m. until 10 tonight. Unauthorized vessels will not be permitted within 1,000 feet of the barges being used for the fireworks displays. Anyone anchored close to or downwind of the fireworks area should have a fire extinguisher on board.

• Rules for specific times and locations are as follows: In Area 1, vessels may transit at no wake speed or no faster than 6 knots from 6 a.m. to 5 tonight.

Vessels may not maneuver within 100 yards of an OpSail vessel.

In Areas 3 and 4 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 tonight, access is limited to vessels greater than 50 feet in length.

In Areas 2 and 5, access is limited to vessels in the Parade of Sail from 10 a.m. to 5 tonight.

For a chart showing the location of the areas, visit www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-06-08/html/2012-13890.htm.

• Vessel operators wanting to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the regulated areas must call the Coast Guard at (203) 468-4401, or a designated representative via VHF radio on Channel 16, to request authorization.

• The Coast Guard will provide notice of the regulated areas prior to the event through the Local Notice to Mariners and Broadcast Notice to Mariners. Notice also will be provided by on-scene designated representatives.

• Anyone with a New London city mooring should note that only one boat per mooring is allowed. Neither rafting nor anchoring will be allowed within the city's mooring field.

• Law enforcement officers will be policing boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs with extra vigilance during OpSail.

• All vessels are required to carry properly fitting life jackets for each person on board. Children under age 13 must wear a life jacket while under way.

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