|Protecting our homeland and America’s Waterways.|
Reposted in part from Skipper Bob
Many of you will soon be making the trek north and cruising through the Norfolk/Portsmouth, Va area while heading for the Chesapeake and points farther north. We thought it prudent to pass on an important reminder for all boaters passing the Naval Shipyard in the Portsmouth/Norfolk/ Hampton Roads vicinity. The Navy has set up a security zone from the Elizabeth River Channel Lighted Gong Buoy 5 to the Elizabeth River Channel Lighted Buoy 11, on the south side of the channel. If you have the most current charts, this area is colored in magenta, not to be confused with the magenta ICW channel. This is an OFF LIMITS AREA and in the words of the U.S. Coast Guard, "Unauthorized vessels entering this RESTRICTED AREA may encounter USE OF FORCE procedures by patrolling security vessels." So please stay clear and keep to the charted channel because we can verify through personal experience that they are not fooling around. The machine guns mounted on their patrol boats further reinforce their resolve. Security can be contacted on VHF channel 14.
We at milemarkerO.blogspot would also like to point out that the security is once again heightened due to the killing of osama bin laden and concerns of the potential threat attack in the Hampton Roads area.
The U.S. Coast Guard, which asks the everyday American to be the extra eyes and ears of law enforcement in keeping our waterways safe and secure. Millions of Americans either work on or recreationally use our country’s numerous waterways. As the Coast Guard puts it, a person who spends much of their time on or near the water, already knows what is normal and what is not, and they are well suited to notice suspicious activities, including activities possibly indicating threats to our nation’s homeland security. We are urged to adopt a heightened sense of sensitivity toward unusual events or individuals that may encounter in or around ports, docks, marinas, riversides, beaches, or waterfront communities.
During our nation’s battle on terrorism, it is imperative that all Americans do their small part in assisting to protect our homeland, and America’s Waterway Watch is just one example of how the average person can lend a hand just by keeping their eyes and ears open to any suspicious activities.
In addition to everyday criminal activity, America’s coasts, rivers, bridges, tunnels, ports, ships, military bases, and waterside industries may be the terrorists’ next targets and with more than 95,000 miles of shoreline, more than 290,000 square miles of water and approximately 70 million recreational boats in the United States, the U.S. Coast Guard and local first responders can’t do the job alone.
That is where a program created by the Coast Guard, known as America’s Waterway Watch, comes into play.
According to the Coast Guard, all Americans should be aware of suspicious activities on and near our waterways.
Possible suspicious activity may include things like:
• People appearing to be engaged in surveillance of any kind, including taking notes, shooting video or photos, making sketches, or asking questions
• Unattended vessels or vehicles in unusual locations
• Lights flashing between boats
• Unusual diving activity
• Unusual number of people onboard
• Unusual night operations
• Recovering or tossing items into/onto the waterway or shoreline
• Operating in or passing through an area that does not typically have such activity
• Fishing or hunting in locations not typically used for those activities
• Missing fencing or lighting near sensitive locations
• Anchoring in an area not typically used for anchorage
• Transfer of people or things between ships or between ship and shore outside of port
• Anyone operating in an aggressive manner
• Individuals establishing businesses or roadside food stands near sensitive locations
• Small planes flying over critical locations
• People attempting to buy or rent fishing or recreational vessels with cash for short-term, undefined use
In addition, the Coast Guard suggests watching for possible suspicious vessels and individuals in locations such as:
• Under and around bridges, tunnels, or overpasses
• Near commercial areas or services like ports, fuel docks, cruise ships, marinas
• Near industrial facilities like power plants and oil, chemical, or water intake facilities
• Near military bases and vessels, other government facilities, or security zones
The Coast Guard also offers these useful vessel security ideas:
1. Secure and lock your boat when not on board
2. Take the keys of the vessel with you
3. Disable the engine on stored or trailered boats, and make sure the boat is not easily moved
Quick Security Tip: Do not approach or challenge anyone acting in a suspicious manner. To report suspicious activity, call the National Response Center at 800-424-8802 or 877-24WATCH.
For immediate danger to life or property, call 911 right away.
For more information on the America’s Waterway Watch program, log on to the U.S. Coast Guard Web site at http://www.uscg.mil/