July 4th Safety Tips for Boaters Watching Fireworks Displays
Wear your life jacket! Make sure everyone onboard the boat is wearing either a traditional life jacket that fits properly, or an inflatable PFD. Navigating at night in smoky conditions can be just as dangerous as boating in stormy weather or in fog.
Designate a Sober Skipper to stay at the helm all evening and be responsible for returning the boat and its passengers safely to shore after the fireworks display is over.
Watch your weight. Don’t overload the boat with passengers.The number of seats available on board is not always the best indicator of capacity. Look for the boat’s capacity plate on the transom or by the helm, or look up the passenger capacity in the boat’s manual.
Things look different at night. Remember that in the dark, visual navigation markers you rely on during the day may be invisible. Chart your route to your fireworks-viewing spot in advance, and use GPS-enabled electronics to help you find it, if necessary.
Listen Up! Follow the directions issued to boaters by U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary as to where you may safely anchor to view the fireworks away from sparks and ash.
Relax and enjoy the show. Don’t be in a rush to get home; let some of the boat traffic clear out before you raise anchor after the fireworks display is over.