Here's what you need to know about spot marking for parade, fireworks

Mark Brooky • Jul 31, 2018 at 1:00 PM

It’s a question that pops up during every Coast Guard Festival week: What exactly is the policy or the rules for marking a spot to watch the festival’s Grand Parade and fireworks show later that evening?

With a few tweaks now and then, they are basically the same over the years. Simply put, you can’t lay claim to private property, unless it’s yours or you have direct permission; and public land can’t be reserved too far in advance.

Here are the details:

The public can place sheets, caution tape, golf tees and chairs on all public property to reserve space for the Coast Guard Festival Grand Parade and fireworks show after 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 3. The placement of spot markers prior to that time is prohibited, and items will be removed by city work crews.

Also prohibited are tents, sandbags, plastic tarps, duct tape, rocks, stakes or spray paint. Plastic tarps suffocate and kill the grass, and rocks and stakes present a tripping hazard. All items violating this policy will be removed by the city.

City officials have noted that many people show up before the 12:01 a.m. deadline and lay out blankets and markings, then remain on site until the deadline. This is permitted, but they must remain physically on their space up until the deadline.

“If they’re planning on keeping their spot, they need to stay with their blanket,” Grand Haven Community Affairs Manager Char Seise has said.

Owners of adjacent property immediately along the parade route are considered present for purposes of this policy.

“For purposes of our spot marking policy, individuals are permitted to claim a spot along the city right of way or river as long as they are consistently present up until the deadline (12:01 a.m. Aug. 3),” City Manager Pat McGinnis said. “We consider an adjoining property owner ‘present’ when they mark their spot — they live or work at the property and are therefore ‘present’ for purposes of our policy.”

Seawall mooring policy

Boaters should be aware that all vessels moored along the seawall on Friday, Aug. 3, will need to be registered at the Grand Haven Municipal Marina and obtain an overnight mooring permit.

The city’s Department of Public Works will have that posted 24 hours in advance.

There is a $10 charge for the permit, and the fee only covers mooring and does not include electricity or access to private restroom facilities.

Officials remind boaters that rafting is limited to three vessels off the seawall. Any unregistered vessel moored along the seawall will be asked to leave.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office marine patrol will clear the seawall of all boat traffic at noon Saturday, Aug. 4. No mooring will be allowed along the seawall after that time until after 12:01 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 5.

Boaters must be off the wall for the fireworks Saturday night.

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