It's advertised as a summer hot spot, somewhere you can dock your boat and relax.

But there are some limitations if you're planning a trip to the Flats East Bank.

"Unless a special waiver was granted by the Coast Guard, parking here is never allowed.” Coast Guard Commanding Officer Mickey Dougherty told WKYC Channel 3.

He was talking about a specific section of the new dock from Alley Cat to the N & S #1 Bridge.

“When we have commercial vessel traffic coming through, it's extra dangerous for those recreational users to be here," Dougherty added.

But it's a little confusing.

People who use the waterways along Lake Erie reached out to us with concerns that boats would be allowed in the Flats, as it was portrayed in these renderings.

Four small signs and a whole series of cleats for boats to tie onto also make it awfully hard to know the difference.

"We're working with the city and the Flats East bank to either render these cleats unusable or we're looking to remove the cleats," Dougherty said.

The safety concerns started back in the 1980s, when commercial users and the public came to the conclusion that 10 areas were to be deemed safety zones to avoid collisions between big vessels and recreational boaters.

Now there are 11.

We also checked with Heidi Yankok with East Bank Flats. She says they are aware of the safety zone restrictions, and they do welcome boaters, but their first priority is safety.

On the business end, Councilman Kerry McCormack says he knew about some of the safety zones, but he wasn't aware of this specific concern. He tells us he's glad to know the Coast Guard is figuring it out.

There's more good news, they aren't issuing fines or tickets. Right now, they're just asking violators to move.

VERIFY: Sources

  • Mickey Dougherty, U.S. Coast Guard
  • Heidi Yankok, East Bank Flats
  • Kerry McCormack, Cleveland City Council

VERIFY: Resources

READ: List of Safety Zones for Cuyahoga River and Old River, Cleveland, OH from the Government Publishing Office


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