Boating safety important over the holiday

Published on Tue, Jul 2, 2013
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As the rockets boom and blare on the Fourth of July, boaters will have the best views for waterfront fireworks shows. 

From June 29 to July 7, America will have more boats on the water than at any other time during the entire summer boating season, advises the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) director of public affairs Scott Croft. 

This influx of watercraft can cause some snags and if people aren’t flexible, some unhappy campers.

BoatUS has these five tips to keep boaters happy and safe:

Have a life jacket for everyone aboard and, if adult guests aren’t wearing theirs, keep it near them, under a seat ready to grab. It’s the number one step you can take to ensure everyone has a good day on the water. If you need to borrow a kid’s life jacket (at no cost), go to the BoatUS Foundation’s free kids loaner program, at bit.ly/14vBY0p.

Be patient: July 4th is America’s most active recreational boating period. Go slowly after fireworks shows end, post extra lookouts on the way home, and be prepared for delays at the launch ramp.

In freshwater, very small amounts of 120-volt AC current can kill. If the kids want to take a swim, never allow it in a marina, and only swim near a private dock if it is without electrical service or the power has been shut off at the source.

Dead batteries and prop entanglements lead the list of requests for on-water towing assistance. Download the 

BoatUS towing app at BoatUS.com/towingapp to summon water or roadside assistance. On-water towing plans start at $43 for freshwater tows.

Go ahead and celebrate America’s birthday with gusto! Just remember that being on the water all day can exacerbate alcohol’s effects, drunk boating laws apply so think about holding off until after you’ve made it safely home, and drink lots of water.