One of the benefits of owning a boat is watching the fireworks on the water. The reflections… the immersion… the traditions… the memories. There is so much joy to be had when sharing moments with your friends and family.
THERE ARE A FEW EXTRA STEPS TO ENSURE THE EVENING STAYS SAFE.
Make a Plan
All boating trips need a plan. It takes a few more thought-out steps when attending fireworks or any event by boat. Timing your departure and navigation routes to allow for additional time. Going slow is important. You are not the only boat with the same idea. Slow down!
Watch Your Weight
Who isn’t tired of hearing this?! But it is important, especially on your boat. Keep your guest capacity within the USCG limit. Weight distribution is just as important as capacity. Everyone wants to watch but everyone doesn’t have to be on the same side of the boat. Have a chat with everyone onboard about moving about on the boat so that it is done safely.
It is a good idea to have everyone aboard wear USCG-approved life vests.
Check Safety and Viewing Zones
The typical safe distance from fireworks can start from 35’ to 150’ away. Check with your local authorities to know where they are planning to stage the fireworks. Fireworks staged on a barge in the water may have to move to accommodate for current and wind. Keep your VHF on to know where the boating safety zones are located at all times as they may change.
Wind = Smoke
The designated captain needs to be aware of any wind. Wind will carry the smoke and potential ash from the fireworks. Wind can shift and cause a problem even if you are in a safety zone.
Flares and Personal Fireworks
Enjoying the fireworks doesn’t mean you have to participate with your own. Fire, sparks, and explosions are never a good idea on a boat. Flares are for emergencies only. It is a federal offense to use your flares outside of an emergency. There are plenty of emergency marine resources out on patrol during fireworks. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
Designate a Sober Captain
I can not stress this point enough. Boating is supposed to be relaxing. The best way to keep it that way is to designate a boat captain that will not drink alcohol this evening. Everyone is out watching the fireworks, all with the same excitement as you and your guests.
Be safe! Make memories!