Reporting Alex DeMetrick
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — By this time Wednesday, tall ships and naval vessels will be filling Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
It’s the centerpiece of the state’s Star-Spangled Sailabration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 but, as Alex DeMetrick reports, it won’t be a holiday for the Coast Guard.
Maryland may be used to seeing the Pride of Baltimore but Wednesday, don’t get too close to look at the Pride and 17 other visiting ships as they move up the Chesapeake.
“The area 100 yards from any naval vessel or tall ship that comes up the bay and into the harbor is off limits,” said U.S. Coast Guard Commander John Burns.
The Coast Guard is in charge of keeping civilian boats and visiting ships safely apart during the Star-Spangled Sailabration. Patrol boats will be enforcing safety zones, which move with the vessels. Private craft are also being urged to follow rules for the event.
“Maintaining a proper look-out, operating at a safe speed and then also heeding the directions of the enforcement vessels,” Burns said.
While the Coast Guard is the lead agency, this event is so large, it’s going to take help to pull off. Maryland’s Natural Resources Police and 17 other first responder agencies will also patrol as the ships travel.
The Blue Angels aerial show this weekend will mean a three mile-long stretch of water from Fort McHenry south will have to be kept clear for hours at a time.
“The Inner Harbor, the Middle Branch and the Patapsco River,” Burns said.
As for turnout, the Coast Guard estimates thousands of privately-owned boats will converge on Baltimore.
The Coast Guard calls the Sailabration a major marine event and began planning for it two years ago.