It is critical that all boaters be aware of and comply with new homeland security measures set forth by federal, state and local governments. 

What homeland security measures must boaters comply with in the United States? 

  • Keeping a safe prescribed distance from military and commercial ships.

  • Avoiding commercial port operations areas.

  • Do not stop or anchor beneath bridges, around power plants, dams or channels.

  • Be especially cautious around operations linked to military, cruise line, or petroleum facilities.

  • Remember, it is imperative to adhere to all security zones, including those involving military ships.

Observing and reporting suspicious activity to proper authorities: “If you see something, say something.”

What minimum distance must be maintained from a US naval vessel?


Do not approach within 100 yards of any U.S. naval vessel. If you need to pass within 100 yards of a U.S. naval vessel in order to ensure a safe passage in accordance with the Navigation Rules, you must contact the U.S. naval vessel or the Coast Guard escort vessel on VHF-FM channel 16.

You must operate at minimum speed within 500 yards of any U.S. naval vessel and proceed as directed by the Commanding Officer or the official patrol.

Navy restrictions

Boaters Can Help Keep Our Waterways Safe and Secure

Keep your 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 face 6 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, not to mention a quick and severe response. Approaching certain other commercial vessels may result in an immediate boarding.

Observe and avoid all security zones. Avoid commercial port operation areas, especially those that involve military, cruise line or petroleum facilities. Observe and avoid other restricted areas near dams, power plants, etc. Violators will be perceived as a threat, and will face a quick, determined and severe response.

Do not stop or anchor beneath bridges or in the channel. If you do, expect to be boarded by law enforcement officials.

Keep a sharp eye out for anything that looks peculiar or out of the ordinary. Report all activities that seem suspicious to the local authorities, the Coast Guard and the port or marina security. Do not approach or challenge those acting in a suspicious manner.

Safer boaters help reduce public demands by permitting Marine Patrols to focus their limited resources on Homeland Security.

For more information on security zones and how you can help, call the Coast Guard at 800-368-5647 or go to the USCG website at

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