BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — For the first time in more than 100 years, the City of Buffalo will host the visit of 12 tall ships during the 4th of July holiday weekend.
The fleet of historic, majestic tall ships come from harbors across the U.S. Canada, Spain and the South Pacific and will be docked at The Erie Basin Marina, Canalside and Riverwalk from July 4-7.
Buffalo is a host port for the Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2019 race from Toronto to Buffalo.
A highlight of the visit will be a July 4th "Parade of Sail" as all the ships will make their way into the Buffalo Harbor.
Spots along Buffalo's Outer Harbor will be good areas to see the tall ships under sail.
The ships will be open for tours along with historic exhibits, food and excursions as part of the "Basil Port of Call: Buffalo 2019" activities.
Boaters should also be aware that there will be some changes for those using the Buffalo Harbor for the Independence Day holiday.
The Department of Homeland Security is establishing a 100-yard safety zone around all the tall ships while they are underway.
A 25-yard safety zone will be established around the ships when they are docked and will be enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies.
Violators will be advised of the safety zones but repeat offenders, or those who fail to comply, could get a citation with a possible fine.
In addition, some transient docking areas at Canalside and the Erie Basin Marina will not be available this year for the holiday because the tall ships will be moored in those places.
The Erie Basin Marina is encouraging boaters who wish to rent a spot to call by Tuesday July 2nd in order to have the best chance of securing a slip.
Organizers are advising boaters who wish to watch fireworks from the harbor area to make arrangements ahead of time to be sure there they have a place to dock.
Boaters are still welcome to drop anchor to watch the fireworks - which will be launched from a location on the outer harbor.
Slip holders will not be affected as the harbor will remain open with the safety zone restrictions.
More than 100,000 people are expected to come view the tall ships.
Since traffic and parking could be difficult, people are advised to use the NFTA Park & Ride lots for the Rapid Transit which has free above ground service and a station at Canalside.