BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Boating restrictions, to be enforced with heavy firepower, take effect in areas along Georgia's coast this weekend in advance of the G-8 summit of world leaders.
Starting Saturday, 25-foot U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats with armed crews and mounted machine guns will ply waters around Sea Island. The island is where President Bush and the leaders of top industrial democracies will meet Tuesday through Thursday.
Federal officials warned last week that terrorists are plotting an attack on U.S. soil this summer and the summit is seen as a potential target.
Sea Island is about 80 miles from Savannah. The island will be closed off by a security force that also includes Secret Service agents and National Guard troops.
Coast Guard spokesman Dana Warr said intercoastal waterways will be closed to private boats and commercial ships will be monitored as they enter state ports. She said ships will be boarded at random.
Meanwhile, the restrictions will keep some Georgia shrimpers grounded just when they hoped to begin their season.
Hurt in recent years by lower priced, imported Asian shrimp, a late start to the shrimp season amounts to "lost opportunity," said George Marra, director of the Georgia Shrimp Association.
"From the beaches to three miles out, that's where the shrimp are going out into the ocean and that's where we want to catch them," Marra said. "But we understand this is one of the things we need to do."
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