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U.S. Coast Guard Adds New Slow-Speed Zone Ahead Of Columbus Day Weekend

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Pattrik Simmons
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The U.S. Coast Guard today announced a new slow-speed zone to ensure the safety of boaters in and out of Convoy Point and Black Point Marina during the Columbus Day weekend celebrations.

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Credit U.S. Coast Guard
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U.S. Coast Guard map of the slow speed zones.

“Historically, we have had a slow-speed zone in the area, but it’s been centered mostly in the northern part of the Biscayne Bay,” said Lt. Mike Cortese, Commanding Officer of U.S. Coast Guard Station Miami Beach. “We have extended it south all the way to Black Point [Marina] to help cover the high-traffic areas between the Elliot Key and the marinas where boaters often launch out of.”

Within this slow-speed zone, boaters are prohibited from exceeding a speed of 15 knots (or 22.65 miles per hour). It will be enforced beginning Oct. 11 at 12:01 p.m. until 2 a.m. Monday, Oct. 12.

Boating during Columbus Day weekend is considered to be one of the most dangerous times of the year due to high congestion within the area.

“It’s not been a great year for boater safety around the Miami area, but this weekend we want it to be a safe time for everybody out there on the water. Boat responsibly, and have a good time,” said Brian Carlstrom, superintendent of the Biscayne National Park, where most of the boating congestion takes place.

About 25 different entities, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Miami-Dade Police Department, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, and the City of Miami Fire Rescue, will be checking to make sure boats are not overcrowded or that boaters aren’t boating under the influence.

Boaters caught boating under the influence will be penalized with a $500 fine or six months in prison for a first offense.

“Don’t put yourself in that position,” said Officer Jorge Pino of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “Just don’t do it. Don’t operate a vessel while intoxicated, and we won’t have a problem.”