One of the perks of owning or having access to a boat is that you have front row seats for firework displays. Many people gather each year to be dazzled by firework shows on the open water. Because the 4th of July festivities are right around the bend, we thought we’d give you a refresher on how to safely and legally enjoy this holiday aboard your boat. Here are some general tips for boating safety during firework displays.
Boaters should always act with care when navigating at night, but this is especially true on holidays when there are more individuals out and about on the water. It is significant to make sure that you:
- Travel at a relatively slow speed. Boating accidents are more likely to occur on holidays when lakes are more crowded.
- Keep an attentive eye out for boats and swimmers. Although it may be best to discourage your passengers from taking a dip too far from your boat, you must be prepared for the presence of other swimmers.
- Have proper lighting. Although the view is best when it is completely dark, try refrain from turning off your safety lights completely.
- Have proper safety gear and life jackets aboard. This is a given at all times, but especially important at night and during high traffic times.
- Have a designated driver. Drinking-related boating incidents are more common around holidays. It is important to make sure that you always have a sober driver. If at all possible, passengers should remain sober for optimal safety.
- Have a fire extinguisher on board in the event a firework should stray.
Although viewing fireworks from aboard a boat is undoubtedly breathtaking, it is important to note that you should not get too close to the action. Be sure to:
- Check your state’s boating laws. Some have specific regulations for firework events.
- Check for boater safety zones or notifications for the body of water you are traveling on prior to leaving land. Many lakes have restricted zones for boaters to view the firework display. Be mindful of these zones.
- Report the use of unauthorized fireworks. Although everyone loves a good firework show, private firework shows that seem to be out of hand or dangerous should be reported immediately.
- If a firework does travel off course, do not panic or act rashly. Stay put until you know it is safe to travel.
- Take your time when leaving. As mentioned before, holidays are high trafficked times and the rate of incidents is higher.
Other things you might want to take into consideration before leaving the dock:
- Animals are usually highly sensitive to loud noises. This might be the time to leave Fido at home.
- Individuals with certain health conditions should not be exposed to loud noises and bright lights for extended periods of time. Be sure to ask any guests if they are comfortable with being out on the open water during a firework display.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July!
This post was contributed by Mike Hall