FAQ Friday: While operating my recreational boat, what is the prescribed distance for me to stay away from military, cruise lines and commercial ships?

Friday, May 1, 2015

USCGC Campbell at Fleet Week NYC 2014. USCG Auxiliary Photo by Anthony Torres.

Boaters should keep their distance from all military, cruise line, or commercial shipping. Do not approach within 100 yards, and slow to minimum speed within 500 yards of any U.S. naval vessel. Violators of the Naval Vessel Protection Zone could face six years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, boaters may face a quick and possibly severe response from the vessel itself. Approaching commercial vessels may result in an immediate boarding by the Coast Guard.

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  1. Alan Reagan says:

    Also, even at slow speeds, do not make any move that might be considered a threat such as constantly keeping your bow toward the military vessel, getting into a crossing situation within the security zone or failing to heed the instructions from any escort vessels. In some cases, military vessel movements do not allow for the 100 yard separation between vessels. If the military vessel is being escorted, the escort vessel will screen any vessels by remaining between those vessels and the escorted vessel. If the military vessel is not being escorted, the civilian vessel should move to the edge of the channel and keep the bow pointed away from the military vessel.

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