The July 4th holiday is the perfect time for fun on the water with your family. A beautiful sunny day, followed by an awe-inspiring display of explosions with a starlit backdrop. These festivities are meant to be enjoyed by everyone, but for that to happen we all must observe certain safety precautions. The Sea Tow Foundation has come up with a list of six safety tips for boaters that will ensure you and your family enjoy a safe 4th of July holiday.
- Wear a life jacket! Make sure everyone onboard the boat is wearing a life jacket or personal flotation device that fits properly.
- Designate a sober skipper. This person should remain at the helm during the evening hours and be responsible for getting the boat back to shore safely when the fireworks display is over.
- Watch your weight. Don’t overload the boat with passengers. 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.
- Be prepared for the absence of light. Visual navigation markers you rely on during the day may be invisible at night. 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.