Sea Tow offers tips for watching fireworks from your boat

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The Sea Tow Foundation is urging boater safety and offering tips for viewing fireworks on the water this July Fourth, a time that can be associated with accidents.

Boaters will fill waterways, coasts, and lakes to get a front-row seat of the fireworks displays, but the Sea Tow Foundation says night boating, along with smoke caused by fireworks, can create challenging boating conditions.

“For some, watching fireworks from a boat is a family tradition and one that is an amazing experience,” said Sea Tow Foundation executive director Michael Wesolowski in a statement. “These tips are simple and easy to remember. If not practiced, they could make the difference in your Fourth of July ending with a literal bang.”

Among the recommendations was urging boaters not to overload vessels with passengers, harkening back to a high-profile case of a 34-foot Silverton carrying 27 people capsizing in 2012 on Long Island Sound, killing three children.

Another tip was not to be in a rush to get home, bringing to mind a three-boat crash in 2014 that killed four after “a mad dash” to leave the scene following the fireworks, according to officials who responded to the crash in Key Biscayne.

Two other chief tips were to designate a sober skipper, and for all passengers to wear personal flotation devices.

The Foundation also warned boaters that things look different at night, and urged them to follow instructions issued by U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary to see where they should safely anchor away from sparks and ash.

Finally, they said that boaters should verify that running and anchor lights are working before getting out on the water, and to report illegal fireworks, which can be extremely harmful to people and other boaters.

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