July Fourth holiday boating traffic is likely to be up this year, with national
boating group, BoatUS, urging extra safety efforts.
8 safety tips for boating’s busiest
time of the year: July Fourth Holiday
The American nation’s
largest advocacy, services and safety group for recreational boaters, Boat
Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS),
says July Fourth is shaping up to be the busiest time of the year on the water
for the nation’s recreational boaters, with boating traffic potentially
surpassing last year’s levels. This also means boaters will face additional
safety concerns with waterway congestion and nighttime operation.
In a recent
survey of more than a half million BoatUS members, 88 percent of respondents
say they are “very-to-extremely likely” to go boating during the 2017 July
Fourth holiday period (June 30 through July 9). That compares to 73 percent who
went boating over the similar period last year.
member survey also shows that about one in three (36 percent) of respondents
are “very-to-extremely likely” to operate a boat at night to view a July Fourth
fireworks display from the water. Three percent said that fireworks displays
are the only reason they will venture out after dark all year long.
12 million registered boats on the water, boaters will need to take special
safety precautions during the holiday period,” said BoatUS Foundation for
Boating Safety and Clean Water President Chris Edmonston. The Foundation is the
nonprofit safety arm of BoatUS. “The mayhem of fireworks shows, overburdened
launch ramps, crowded waterways and long days spent under the stressors of
wind, waves and sun will require everyone to up their safety game and be
courteous to fellow boaters.”
Foundation has these eight holiday boating tips:
to celebrate with alcohol. It could be a long day on the water, but
waiting until after you’ve returned to homeport for the night before
celebrating with alcohol is a wise move. Added to the effects of sun, wind
and waves, alcohol lowers situational awareness and increases reaction
more lookouts at night, the better. Having extra sets of eyes – family
members or guests – can help prevent accidents.
slow after the fireworks. After viewing fireworks from the water and
pulling up anchor, you may have the urge to rush home. Don’t. Slow down.
Be cautious, and the odds for a safe return increase.
kids’ life jackets for free. Everyone has extra guests this time of
year, but they don’t always have properly-sized life jackets for everyone
on board. The BoatUS Foundation’s free Kids Life
Jacket Loaner program gives boaters a chance to borrow child-size life
jackets for the day, afternoon, or weekend.
overload the boat. Everyone should have a seat inside the
boat, and be careful about adding extra coolers and gear. It’s also a bad
idea to allow to passengers to ride on the top of a boat with an enclosed
bow while underway.
a safe paddler. Kayak, canoe or stand-up paddlers should understand
all of the nautical
rules of the road, practice defensive paddling and assume no one can
see you. At night, paddlers are required to show a white light – colored
glow sticks around the paddler’s neck don’t cut it. Avoid crowded
anchorages and congested ramp areas.
swim near a dock with electricity or in a marina or yacht club.
the two biggest hassles. The nationwide TowBoatUS on-water towing
fleet traditionally reports hundreds of battery jumps and anchor-line
disentanglements over the holiday. To avoid having to contact BoatUS
24-hour dispatch (BoatUS.com/app) monitor your battery drain, go slow
while hauling anchor line, and be super vigilant so you don’t run over
someone else’s anchor line after the show ends.
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