BoatUS said the Fourth of July holiday period is shaping up to be the busiest time of the year for the nation’s recreational boaters, with boating traffic potentially surpassing last year’s levels.
It also means boaters will face additional safety concerns because of waterway congestion and nighttime operation.
In a recent survey of more than a half million BoatUS members, 88 percent of the respondents said they are “very to extremely likely” to go boating during the Fourth of July holiday period (June 30-July 9). That compares with 73 percent who went boating during a similar period last year.
The BoatUS member survey also showed that about one in three, or 36 percent, of respondents are “very to extremely likely” to operate a boat at night to see a Fourth of July fireworks display from the water.
Three percent said fireworks displays are the only reason they will venture out after dark all year long.
“With nearly 12 million registered boats on the water, boaters will need to take special safety precautions during the holiday period,” BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water president Chris Edmonston said in a statement.
The foundation is the non-profit 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,” Edmonston said.
BoatUS is offering eight tips to boaters on the holiday — wait to celebrate with alcohol; the more lookouts, the better; go slow after fireworks; get kids’ life jackets free via the BoatUS Foundation’s free kids’ life jacket loaner program; don’t overload the boat; be a safe paddler; and urge people to never swim near a dock with electricity or in a marina or yacht club.
Lastly, BoatUS urged boaters to avoid the two biggest hassles.
“The nationwide TowBoatUS on-water towing fleet traditionally reports hundreds of battery jumps and anchor-line disentanglements over the holiday,” the group said. “To avoid having to contact BoatUS 24-hour dispatch, 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.”