Noncommercial Boat Traffic Restricted Around Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/02/04

Noncommercial Boat Traffic Restricted Around Savannah

Security is starting to get tighter on the Coastal Empire waterways, as Coast Guard personnel from around the country prepare for the G-8 summit. The additional men and women are now getting some last-minute training. Restrictions for recreational boaters go into place on June 5, so be prepared to take other routes.

Members of the Coast Guard are stepping it up for the G-8 summit. "My normal job is a coxswain or driver of the boat," said BM1 Doug Burford. "We do security around the Port of Savannah."

But his security zone is increasing starting Saturday. And starting now, so is the amount of Coast Guard members around the area. "We've got units from New York, Boston, Charleston, the southeastern United States that aren't from Savannah waters," said PO2 Dana Warr.

They are all learning the ins and and outs of the the area they are protecting. "Today we are just showing them the whole area from Port Wentworth down to Tybee on waterside, so they can become familiar with different ranges they have to run," said Burford.

For some of the Coast Guard members, this is not the first time they have had dealt with a controversial event. Some were at the Free Trade of the Americas talks in Miami back in November. "Similar to this, but not exactly," recalled PO2 Chris Pierce. "We had to do 24-hour water service, but we are expecting a lot more people here, so this is much more extensive."

And the Coast Guard says they are ready, and will be working with other agencies to keep everyone safe. "There's going to be a lot of Coast Guard presence on the water, a lot of agencies, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the local sheriff's department," said Warr.

The security zones will be in place from this Saturday until next Thursday, so if you are not a commercial boat owner, stay away from the downtown Savannah area on the river. There are also security zones set up in Brunswick.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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