The Fourth of July is one of the busiest boating days of the year, and with thousands expected to cruise to on-the-water fireworks shows and popular boating hotspots across the nation, experts are reminding the public about safety in the water.
According to experts, historic numbers of first-time boat owners will navigate crowded waterways and encounter limited nighttime visibility this year.
"After a year of COVID restrictions, boaters are out on the water in force, soaking up plenty of sun and fun," Water Sports Foundation Executive Director Jim Emmons said. "With the addition of 415,000 new, first-time registered boat owners since 2020 who are now enjoying their first full season, we felt it was especially important to welcome them to the water and to share important safe boating strategies as we approach the busy holiday weekend."
Experts said those celebrating Independence Day on the water should do proper boat checks to make sure everything is in order. Make sure the proper safety equipment is on board, and check the weather conditions in advance.
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Pack sunscreen, a first-aid kit, and a basic toolkit prior to departure.
It's also important to have a plan in place with emergency contacts in case something goes wrong, and be sure to name someone a designated driver, experts said.
Those celebrating on the Fourth of July should also be careful once the fireworks show comes to an end, and should never set off fireworks from the boat. Make sure a fire extinguisher is aboard and easily accessible, experts said.
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Most importantly, make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket.
"We want boaters to avoid becoming a boating statistic over this holiday weekend by practicing a few safety measures to keep everyone safe," said Emmons. "We believe safe boaters are happy boaters, so let's all have fun by being well-prepared and safe on the water."
For additional boating safety tips, click here.