Safety First For Fourth of July Boaters

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Safety First For Fourth of July BoatersLITTLE ROCK – Family picnics, fireworks and being on the water all are things associated with the Fourth of July. One more thing should be added to that list – safety. According to Bob Cushing, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Boating Education Program coordinator, this is one of the busiest and most dangerous times on the water.

“Thousands of people hit the water on the Fourth for a day in the sun and fireworks displays, but many do so without fully preparing for the trip,” Cushing said. “The most important piece of safety equipment is a life jacket. More specifically, there should be a properly fitting life jacket for everyone on board. By law, all children 12 and under must have their life jacket secured any time they are on the boat, but everyone should wear them any time a boat is underway.”

According to Stephanie Weatherington of the AGFC Enforcement Division, life jackets aren’t the only items a boater needs to check while preparing for a day on the water.

“Prior to going out on the water, boaters need to check their navigation lights,” she said. “People are out watching fireworks displays at night, and do not think about needing lights until it is dark. Always take a spotlight or flashlight, just in case.”

Holiday Weekend Safety Tips

  • Before going out on the water, check your navigation lights, fire extinguisher and safety gear.
  • Wear a life jacket.
  • Pay attention to other boaters.
  • Don’t drink and operate a boat. If there is going to be drinking, make sure there is a designated driver. Officers will be out in force.
  • Lakes will be crowded. Slow down and be cautious.

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