Coast Guard to enact buffer around competitive swim events

KAILUA-KONA — The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed plans to enact an ocean buffer zone in Hawaii for athletes competing in Ironman World Championship-related events.

The 100-yard (91-meter) zone would keep unauthorized people and vessels in the area from invading the space participants use to compete in an open swim, bike race and marathon event, West Hawaii Today reported Friday.

Athletes are scheduled to take part in the Hoala Ironman Training Swim on Oct. 5 before competing in the swim portion of the official championship race Oct. 12, event officials said.

The buffer would be in effect from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. both days, and violations could result in expulsion from the area and a citation, authorities said. The regulation covers the 2.4-mile (3.9-kilometer) swim course and the buffer zone.

The Coast Guard proposed the regulation in April and expects to publish the rule in an upcoming edition of the Federal Register making it effective, the agency said. It took some time to finalize the rule because of a public comment period.

“We wanted to make sure we addressed some of the comments that were submitted to us,” said Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Williams.

The regulation is a proactive move because of the event’s growing popularity, and it was not prompted by any prior incidents or accidents involving the two events, the Coast Guard said.

Ironman did not respond to a request for comment.


Information from: West Hawaii Today,


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