Boaters warned about nuke plant security zones

U.S. Coast Guard

ST. JOSEPH — The Coast Guard is reminding Lake Michigan boaters that security zones remain in place around the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Power Plant near Bridgman and the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant south of South Haven.

The security zones are in place year-round regardless if buoys, positioned by the plants to identify the security zone, are in place or not. Both of the power plants monitor the security zones and will contact Coast Guard Station St. Joseph if any vessels enter the security zones, the station reported in a news release Thursday.

The Coast Guard reminds everyone that no person or vessel may enter or remain in the security zone without the permission of the service’s Lake Michigan Captain of the Port. The Captain of the Port may remove any person, vessel, article or thing from the security zone, and each person and vessel in the security zone shall obey any direction or order of the Captain of the Port.

In addition, the Captain of the Port may take possession and control of any vessel in the security zone.

The maximum penalty for entering the security zone without authorization from the Captain of the Port Lake Michigan is $90,063.

The Cook plant security zone extends about 900 yards from shore and from the center of the power plant extending 250 yards in either direction.

The Palisades zone extends about 1,300 yards from shore and from the center of the power plant extending 450 yards in either direction.

“We understand the boating public’s desire to fish these areas, but the security zones are in place for the safety and security of Southwest Michigan,” said Senior Chief Sean Thompson, officer in charge at Coast Guard Station St. Joseph. “We urge everyone to become familiar with the parameters. The Coast Guard will strictly enforce the security zones and will issue fines to anyone found inside the security zone, regardless if the buoys are in place or not.”

For more information, contact Coast Guard Station St. Joseph 983-6114.