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Environment & Energy

RNC Security Plans for the Great Lakes May Affect Boaters

RNC security zone
USCG DISTRICT 9

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

The Coast Guard is setting up special restrictions on some waters – and a spot for protesters.

The Quicken Loans Arena
Credit TONY GANZER
The Quicken Loans Arena, where the RNC will be protected by coast security on the Great Lakes.

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

The Coast Guard has also designated two safety zones for protesters.  Lt. Commander Mickey Dougherty helped create the RNC plan. He says the safety zones are there so protesters have a place to be seen and heard by their intended audience.

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

The safety zones are on Lake Erie, far from Quicken Loans Arena where the convention will be held.  Dougherty says the Coast Guard has not received any requests to demonstrate on the water.  

Great Lakes Today is a collaboration of WBFO Buffalo, ideastream Cleveland and WXXI Rochester.