Boaters cause security concern at Cincinnati Bell/WEBN Fireworks - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Boaters cause security concern at Cincinnati Bell/WEBN Fireworks

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US Coast Guard looks over thousands of boats in the Ohio River for P&G Riverfest (Photo: FOX19) US Coast Guard looks over thousands of boats in the Ohio River for P&G Riverfest (Photo: FOX19)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

The US Coast Guard calls it one of the toughest security events of the year. An estimated 2,000 boats will fill the Ohio River to watch the biggest fireworks show of the year.

"This is my first time doing it during the day and it is definitely a lot different. A lot calmer right now," said Ryan Raifsnider, 1st Class Petty Officer with the U.S. Coast Guard.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, the Ohio River began filling up with a few hundred boats but with more expected to arrive later on in the evening, Raifsnider says the danger quickly rises.

"You've got a barge full of fireworks. You've got people driving boats in the dark. That in and of itself is dangerous. You add in there some alcohol, maybe some flared tempers and the sheer number of boats. They are all risks," said Raifsnider.

As evening approaches, the US Coast Guard begins clearing the river channel and establishing anchor sections for spectators to enjoy the show. At the same time, they are keeping a look out for boaters who shouldn't be behind the wheel.

"We're looking for obviously boaters while intoxicated," said Adam Wong, USCG Petty Officer.

About a dozen police agencies on more than 50 boats are patrolling the river all day and all night. They say the biggest problems arise after the fireworks.

"We'll have a river closure before the fireworks and once we open it up, that is our biggest concern because everyone wants to leave at the exact same time," said Wong.

Eyes from the bridges keep watch too along with hundreds of police officers patrolling both shorelines.

River to watch the biggest fireworks show of the year.

"That is the primary goal is the safety of the event. If we can have a nice safe event. That means it was a successful event," Matt Nemec, Chief Warrant Officer USCG.

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