CHECK THE LOCAL NOTICES
Before heading out on your boat, check the local notice to mariners provided by the U.S. Coast Guard’s office. The site features an interactive map that is updated weekly. The Coast Guard posts special requests or instructions for mariners according to location.
CHECK ALL GEAR
Check that all your necessary boating equipment, accessories, systems, and gear are in proper working condition. It is very important that your navigation and anchor lights are functioning correctly since you’ll likely be operating the vessel at night. Additionally, run through your safety equipment aboard to ensure there are enough items aboard for all potential passengers on the 4th. For additional resources on the safety equipment needed, click here.
In terms of documentation, check that everything is on board and up-to-date. First thing to check for is your registration. Any watercraft operating with propulsion machinery must be registered in the state of use. Next, you’ll want to ensure you have your U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation and any insurance documents applicable to the vessel.
If possible, anchor the vessel before the fireworks begin. This will help avoid additional noise and confusion during the anchoring process. You’ll want a good spot out on the water and to ensure your anchor is strong and steady. If the anchor isn’t properly holding the boat in place, you may have trouble noticing any drifting with the fireworks going on in the background.
FOLLOW WEIGHT WARNINGS
Watching fireworks on a boat is the ultimate way to spend 4th of July. It’s likely that many people will want to come along. You may be tempted to say yes to everyone, but be mindful of your vessel’s specific weight capacity requirements. It is very important that you do not exceed this requirement. Doing so will endanger every passenger on board. If this means you have to turn friends away; remember that it is the best option for them and your other passengers.
HAVE A SOBER CAPTAIN
Designate a sober captain for the night. It’s tempting to drink on this holiday, but it is very important to stay responsible and avoid the booze. This is true for 4th of July and any other outing on the boat. Additionally, fireworks on the nearby shore add another factor that requires you to be on your game.
Once all the logistical factors are taken care of – enjoy the night! Spending the 4th of July on your boat is a special treat. Have fun and be safe.