GOP convention may create headaches for boaters

Jul 2, 2016

When the Republican National Convention opens in Cleveland this month, security measures may cause problems for boaters on Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River. 

With less than three weeks to go to the convention, the U.S. Coast Guard is setting up special restrictions on some waters – as well as a spot for protesters.

Preparations for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland
Credit Darrielle Snipes

There are four security zones that could restrict recreational boating during the convention, from Burke Lakefront Airport to the Cuyahoga River, which winds through the city.  The restrictions won’t be in place for the whole convention, but one – the part of the Cuyahoga that runs past Quicken Loans Arena – will only be open to shipping vessels for the whole four-day event. The Coast Guard will decide whether to enforce the other zones as needed.

The Coast Guard also has designated two safety zones for protesters.  Lt. Commander Mickey Dougherty, who helped create the plan, says those zones will give protesters a place to be seen and heard by their intended audience.

"It helps to specifically outline an area where people can go and demonstrate," he said. "We’ll be in the area, so if there were something to occur, somebody falls overboard, we’re right there to help."

The safety zones are on Lake Erie, far from Quicken Loans Arena, where the convention will be held.  One zone is only in effect for Sunday evening's convention kickoff.  Dougherty says the Coast Guard has not received any requests to demonstrate on the water.

Here is more information about the restrictions.