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Tightening maritime security zone in D.C. as inauguration approaches

D.C. river restriction

The Coast Guard will implement gradually tightening restriction zones on the rivers around Washington, DC, as the date for the presidential inauguration draws near.

The inauguration is slated for Jan. 21, but commercial and recreational water traffic on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers will face some restrictions beginning Jan. 19 -- as preliminary inaugural events ramp up in the nation’s capital -- through Jan. 22, in the hours after the primary inauguration ceremonies conclude.

“At certain times during this period, security zone enforcement may limit or prohibit navigation by commercial and recreational waterway users,” said the Coast Guard on Jan. 4

The Coast Guard’s security zone will include the Potomac River from the Francis Scott Key Bridge  --   which carries U.S. Route 29 -- down to a position approximately 350 yards south of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, a distance of about four miles.  The security zone will continue west on the District of Columbia/Virginia shoreline to a position near the Washington Sailing Marina and east on the District of Columbia shoreline near the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Marina, including the Georgetown Channel Tidal Basin.  The security zone also includes the Anacostia River from the 11th Street Bridge (I-695) down to its confluence with the Potomac River.

The Coast Guard said enforcement of the security zone could change because of unanticipated developments related to the presidential inauguration. However, the general enforcement plan would allow all commercial and recreational marine traffic to enter the security zone between Jan. 15 and Jan. 19, but movement of commercial and recreational vessels may be restricted as inaugural events dictate. 

It said the restrictions will be broadcast and law enforcement assets will be on-scene to ensure vessels do not enter areas impacted by inaugural activities.  Any recreational vessels in the zone must either moor or leave the zone every day prior to sunset.  Any recreational or commercial vessel entering or operating within the security zone during this four-day period must contact the Coast Guard Patrol Commander via marine-band radio VHF Channel 16 prior to entering or operating in the security zone; moreover, all such vessels should prepare to be boarded by the Coast Guard.

On Jan. 20 until Jan. 22, the Coast Guard said it would prohibit recreational boaters from entering or operating inside the security zone.  Recreational boaters moored within the zone will not be allowed to move unless given specific authorization by the Coast Guard Patrol Commander.  Commercial vessels with prior approval from the Coast Guard Patrol Commander may operate during this period, said the Coast Guard.

It anticipates lifting the restrictions during the early morning hours of Jan. 22, when the Coast Guard Patrol Commander broadcasts the go-ahead.

From the opening of the waterway on Jan. 22 through Jan. 24, the Coast Guard will allow recreational and commercial traffic to operate in the security zone as inaugural events permit.

For vessels seeking authorization to enter or transit the security zone, contact the Coast Guard via marine-band radio VHF channel 16.


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