Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Safety Zone: Captain of the Port Chicago Zone

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble


Coast Guard, DOT.


Notice of proposed rulemaking.


The Coast Guard proposes to establish safety zones for annual fireworks displays located at the Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois. This action is necessary to provide for the safety of life and property on navigable waters during each event. This action is intended to restrict vessel traffic in a portion of the Chicago Harbor.


Comments must be received on or before May 31, 2001.


Comments may be mailed or delivered to: Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Chicago, 215 W. 83rd Street, Suite D, Burr Ridge, Illinois 60521. Marine Safety Office Chicago maintains the public docket for this rulemaking. Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or copying at MSO Chicago between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

Start Further Info


MST2 Mike Hogan, U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Chicago, 215 W. 83rd Street, Suite D, Chicago, Illinois 60521 (630) 986-2175.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information


Request for Comments

We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related material. If you do so, please include your name and address, identify the docket number on this rulemaking (CGD09-01-015), indicate the specific section of this proposal to which each comment Start Printed Page 21716applies, and give the reason(s) for each comment. Please submit all comments and attachments in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for photocopying and electronic filing. If you would like to know they reached us, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope or postcard.

The Coast Guard will consider all comments received during the comment period. We may change this proposed rule in view of them.

Public Meeting

We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. But you may request a public meeting by writing to MSO Chicago at the address listed under ADDRESSES explaining why one would be beneficial. If we determine that one would aid this rulemaking, the Coast Guard will hold a public meeting at a time and place announced by a later notice in the Federal Register.

Background and Purpose

The Coast Guard proposes to establish a permanent safety zone that will be activated for fireworks displays occurring throughout the summer season annually at the same location. The proposed safety zone will include the waters off the Navy Pier Breakwall, Lake Michigan bounded by the arc of a circle with a 350-foot radius with its center in approximate position 41°53′18″ N, 087°36′08″ W (NAD 1983).

Based on recent accidents that have occurred in other Captain of the Port zones and the explosive hazard associated with these events, the Captain of the Port has determined that fireworks launches in close proximity to watercraft pose a significant risk to public safety and property. The likely combination of large numbers of inexperienced recreational boaters, congested waterways, darkness punctuated by bright flashes of light, alcohol use, and debris falling into the water could easily result in serious injuries or fatalities. Establishing a safety zone to control vessel movement within a 350-foot radius of the fireworks launch platforms will help ensure the safety of persons and property at these events and help minimize the associated risk.

Establishing permanent safety zones by notice and comment rulemaking gives the public the opportunity to comment on the proposed zones, provides better notice than promulgating temporary rules annually, and decreases the amount of annual paperwork required for these events. The Coast Guard has not previously received notice of any impact caused by these events.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

The proposed size of this safety zone was determined using National Fire Protection Association and local area fire department standards, combined with the Coast Guard's knowledge of waterway conditions in these areas.

Although these new regulations will not affect the Chicago River, the channel will be affected. In the event that shipping is affected by these new regulations, commercial vessels may request permission from the Captain of the Port Chicago to transit through the safety zone.

The proposed safety zone would be in effect from 8 p.m. (c.d.t.) to 11 p.m. (c.d.t.) However, vessels may enter, remain in, or transit through this safety zone during this time frame if authorized by the Captain of the Port Chicago, or designated Coast Guard patrol personnel on scene, as provided for in 33 CFR 165.23. The proposed zone will be activated on the Sunday before Memorial Day and Labor Day, every Wednesday and Saturday between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and the Fourth of July.

Regulatory Evaluation

This proposed rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that order. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed this rule under that order. It is not significant under the regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of Transportation (DOT) (44 FR 11040, February 26, 1979). We expect the economic impact of this proposed rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation under paragraph 10(e) of the regulatory policies and procedures of DOT is unnecessary.

This determination is based on the minimal time that vessels will be restricted from the zones, and all of the zones are in areas where the Coast Guard expects insignificant adverse impact to mariners from the zones' activation.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.

The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

This proposed rule would affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: The owners or operators of commercial vessels intending to transit a portion of an activated safety zone.

These safety zones would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: The proposed zone is only in effect for few hours on the day of the event. Vessel traffic can safely pass outside the proposed safety zone during the events. In cases where traffic congestion is greater than expected and blocks the Chicago River, traffic may be allowed to pass through the safety zone under Coast Guard escort with the permission of the Captain of the Port Chicago. Before the effective period, we will issue maritime advisories widely available to users of the Port of Chicago by the Ninth Coast Guard District Local Notice to Mariners, Marine information broadcasts, and facsimile broadcasts may also be made. Additionally, the Coast Guard has not received any negative reports from small entities affected during these displays in previous years.

If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this rule so that they can better evaluate its effects and participate in the rulemaking process. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact Marine Safety Office Chicago (see ADDRESSES.)

Collection of Information

This proposed rule would call for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).


We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13132 and have Start Printed Page 21717determined that this rule does not have implications for federalism under that Order.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) governs the issuance of Federal regulations that require unfunded mandates. An unfunded mandate is a regulation that requires a state, local, or tribal government or the private sector to incur direct costs without the Federal Government's having first provided the funds to pay those costs. This proposed rule would not impose an unfunded mandate.

Taking of Private Property

This proposed rule would not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

Civil Justice Reform

This proposed rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Protection of Children

The Coast Guard has analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not concern an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.


We have considered the environmental impact of this proposed rule and concluded that, under figure 2-1, paragraph 32(g) of Commandant Instruction M16475.1C, this proposed rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation. A written categorical exclusion determination is available in the docket for inspection or copying where indicated under ADDRESSES.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

  • Harbors
  • Marine safety
  • Navigation (water)
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Security measures
  • Waterways
End List of Subjects

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR Part 165 as follows:

Start Part


1. The authority citation for Part 165 continues to read as follows:

Start Authority

Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191, 33 CFR 1.05-1(g), 6.04-1, 6.04-6 and 160.5; 49 CFR 1.46.

End Authority

2. Add § 165.908 to read as follows:

Safety Zones: Annual fireworks events in the Captain of the Port Chicago Zone.

(a) The following area is designated a safety zone:

(1) Location. The waters off the end of Navy Pier, Lake Michigan, where the fireworks barge will be, bounded by the arc of a circle with a 350-foot radius with its center in the middle of the barge, an approximate position of 41° 53′ 18″ N, 087° 36′ 08″ W (NAD 1983).

(2) Effective dates. This regulation becomes effective from 8 p.m. (c.d.t.) to 11 p.m. (c.d.t.) on the Sunday before Memorial and Labor Day; every Wednesday and Saturday from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day Weekend; and the Fourth of July. If the Fourth of July fireworks are canceled due to inclement weather, the paragraph (a)(1) is effective on July 5th.

(b) Regulations. (1) The general regulations contained in 33 CFR 165.23 apply.

(2) All persons and vessels shall comply with the instructions of the Coast Guard Captain of the Port or the designated on scene patrol personnel. Coast Guard patrol personnel include commissioned, warrant, and petty officers of the U.S. Coast Guard. Upon being hailed by a U.S. Coast Guard vessel via siren, radio, flashing light, or other means, the operator shall proceed as directed.

(3) The safety zone encompasses a portion of Lake Michigan that is near the entrance to the Chicago River. In cases where shipping is affected, commercial vessels may request permission from the Captain of the Port Chicago to transit the safety zone. Approval will be made on a case-by-case basis. Requests must be made in advance and approved by the Captain of the Port before transits will be authorized. The Captain of the Port may be contacted via U.S. Coast Guard Group Milwaukee on Channel 16, VHF-FM.

Start Signature

Dated: April 20, 2001.

R.E. Seebald,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Chicago.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 01-10716 Filed 4-30-01; 8:45 am]