Atlantic Boat and Marine News and Information
NVPZ Should Be a No-brainer
SANDIEGO, CA (Wed 05/13/08) --

You would think mere common sense would prevent the most uneducated and inexperienced mariner from getting too close to any large ship. And getting too close to a naval war ship? Now really - what could you possibly be thinking?

That was likely the question the Coast Guard was asking two men and a woman, each riding a Personal Water Craft (PWC) at high rates of speed, that came very close to the Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan earlier this week.

The 1,092 foot nuclear-powered war ship was entering San Diego Harbor under Coast Guard escort when the PWC riders raced well within the ship's 500 yard Naval Vessel Protection Zone (NVPZ). They nearly entered the 100 yard "no-entry buffer zone" according to a Coast Guard spokesman, despite the Coast Guard patrol boat's efforts to halt them.

The three PWC riders were detained by the Coast Guard for more than an hour after the incident. Apparently there were no charges filed in this case. Willful violation of the Naval Vessel Protection Zone regulation is a felony offense, punishable by up to 6 years in prison and/or up to $250,000 in fines.

A Naval Vessel Protection Zone is a 500-yard regulated area of water surrounding any U.S. naval vessel greater than 100 feet in length. Mariners that enter this protected area must do so at minimum speed and follow the directions of the naval ship or its official escorts.

The regulation also mandates a 100 yard no-entry buffer zone. Entering this area must only be done with the expressed permission, and under the direction, of the naval vessel or the Coast Guard escort. Mariners who violate a Naval Vessel Protection Zone are automatically perceived as a threat, and could face deadly force from the naval ship or its escorts.

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