Chapter 8: Operator Responsibility

Homeland Security Dos and Don'ts

There are specific Homeland Security measures taken to help mitigate and deter unlawful and dangerous operations on our national waterways. These measures are supported by the federal, state and local levels and violating them comes with severe penalties. Let's go over some of these Homeland Security measures now, so one may know and follow them:


  • Slow down to "no wake" speed within 500 yards of a large U.S. vessel.
  • Always stay at least 100 yards away from any military or commercial vessels.
  • Observe security zones and navigate around them.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the local authorities, the U.S. Coast Guard, or marine security personnel, immediately. Never approach any individual acting in a suspicious manner.


  • Do not anchor or stop beneath any bridges or in channels.
  • Never enter the restricted areas found near dams or power plants.
  • Do not operate in close proximity any military, cruise line, or petroleum facilities if one can avoid it.
  • Do not leave a boat unlocked and unattended. Take the keys when exiting a boat.
  • Do not engage suspicious personnel. This should always be left to the authorities. One can report suspicious activity by calling the America's Waterway Watch hotline at 1-877-24WATCH.
No Wake Within 500 Yards

For additional information regarding boating port areas, ask local authorities.