Cleveland is working with the Port of Cleveland to paint 6-foot NO DOCKING signs on 10 safety zones in the Cuyahoga River.
“Most people, if you see bright red paint and 6-foot-long signs, you’re not going to park your boat there,” Cleveland emergency operations center manager Alexander Pellom told the Cuyahoga River Safety Task Force last week.
Police, the Coast Guard, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and other other law enforcement agencies could ticket boaters for parking in safety zones.
The city is planning a June 4 news conference on the zones and public safety campaign to keep the busy river — full of freighters, cruise ships, rowing crews, kayaks, jet skis and stand-up paddleboards — safe.
The longest safety zone is along the revitalized Flats East Bank, a 600-foot stretch from Alley Cat Oyster Bar north to the Norfolk Southern Bridge. Parking boats there, like in many twisty sections of the crooked river, creates an obstacle course for freighters trying to maneuver north or south, or east or west in the old river channel.
To better address safety on the river, the national Coast Guard headquarters will conduct a formal Port and Waterways Safety Assessment, beginning in July.
The city also printed 500 pamphlets explaining how to stay safe on the river, including to stay away from bow thrusters on the freighters, which can suck water in or capsize paddleboards. Students from Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School will pass out those pamphlets on the river this summer.
“The last thing we want is someone to get hurt or die on the waterway, regardless of who’s at fault,” Pellom said.