Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says this July fourth holiday week will be a doozie for America's recreational boaters. While boaters will have the best views for waterfront fireworks shows, “From June 28 to July 6, America will have more boats on the water than at any other time during the entire summer boating season,” says BoatUS Director of Public Affairs Scott Croft. “Patience will run thin, mistakes will happen. Our 24-hour call centers are expecting several thousand requests for routine breakdowns or dead batteries.”
BoatUS has these tips to keep boaters happy and safe:
1. Have a life jacket for everyone aboard, and if guests aren't wearing one, keep it near them. 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 right-sized kids life jacket (at no cost), go to the BoatUS Foundation's Free Kids Loaner program, www.BoatUS.com/foundation/ljlp.
2. Be patient. The July fourth holiday is traditionally America's busiest recreational boating period, with the most on-the-water traffic. Go slowly after fireworks shows end, post extra lookouts on the way home, and be prepared for delays back to your slip.
3. In fresh water, 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.
4. Dead batteries and prop entanglements lead the list of requests for on-water towing assistance. Download the BoatUS Towing App at www.BoatUS.com/towingapp to summon water or roadside assistance. On-water towing plans start at $43 for fresh water.
Go ahead and celebrate America's birthday with gusto! Just remember that being on the water all day can exacerbate alcohol's effects, so think about holding off until after you've safely made it back to the dock, and drink lots of water.