Security measures to limit Boston boaters

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The Democratic National Convention will mean restrictions for local boaters, July 26 to 29

The Democratic National Convention will mean restrictions for local boaters, July 26 to 29

While the Democrats are in town to presumably nominate front-runner John Kerry as their presidential candidate, Boston boaters will notice beefed up harbor security, and boating traffic will literally be shut down near the mouth of the Charles River.

The Democratic National Convention will be held at the Fleet Center July 26 to 29. During the convention boats will be prohibited on the river near the Fleet Center. The Charles River security zone, in effect July 26 to July 30, encompasses the waters 50 yards west of the Boston Museum of Science and east to 50 yards east of the North Washington Street/Charlestown Bridge.

The security zone will have the most effect on boaters who dock upriver and will not be allowed to transit into Boston Harbor during the convention.

Federal officials will also strictly enforce an existing 250-foot security zone around Logan International Airport.

The Coast Guard says the closures are necessary to protect personnel, vessels and facilities from acts of sabotage.

In addition to the security zones, the Coast Guard says there will be a significant law enforcement presence throughout Boston Harbor and in the vicinity of the Rowes Wharf commercial area. The convention will be held at the Fleet Center but several activities have also been scheduled throughout the city.

“The Coast Guard will be patrolling the harbor with partner agencies from the Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts Environmental Police and the Boston Police Department,” says Lt. Aaron Wallace of the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Office in Boston. “The Coast Guard and its partner agencies are looking for all boaters to operate their vessels as they normally would, in a safe and responsible manner.”

Commercial traffic will be restricted as well. Water taxi service will be shut down at Lovejoy Wharf throughout the convention and all commercial traffic will be denied access. The exact time and dates of this closure has not yet been released but the operators have been informed.

Water shuttle service to airport will remain operational; however, traffic will be curtailed while certain dignitaries are flying in or out of Logan.

The security restrictions have been months in the making. The Coast Guard along with the U.S. Secret Service made security plans with the help of the various law enforcement agencies. Members of the waterside security committee have hosted several informational meetings to inform recreational and commercial boaters of the plans.

More information about waterside security zones in Boston, including up-to-the-minute updates, will be available on the Marine Safety Offices Web site www.uscg.mil/d1/units/.