Naval Vessel Protection Zone

Do not approach within 100-yards, and slow to minimum speed within 500-yards of any large U.S. Naval vessel.  The Coast Guard has established a Federal Regulation for a Naval Vessel Protection Zone, which became permanent on June 15, 2002. Under this regulation, all boats within 500 yards of any U. S. naval vessel over 100 feet in length must operate at the minimum speed necessary to maintain course. 

  • No boat is allowed within 100 yards of a U.S. Naval vessel that is over a hundred feet in length. A naval vessel is described as ANY vessel that is owned, leased, or chartered by the U.S. Navy or any other DoD-owned or leased vessel. Violators face up to 6 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, not to mention a quick and severe response.
  • Now under the terms of the NVPZ, the official patrol may permit vessels that can only operate safely in a navigable channel to pass within 100 yards of a U.S. Naval vessel in order to ensure a safe passage in accordance with the Navigation Rules, and in certain areas the actual NVPZ has been modified to accommodate this.

However, now more than ever, it is important that all boaters understand the need to stay alert for any naval vessels that might be in the area, maintain a radio watch on VHF-FM Channel 16, and request verbal permission if you need to encroach upon a security zone.