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Ways To Stay Safe On The Water This Independence Day Weekend

When on the water this weekend, be sure to practice safe boating.
When on the water this weekend, be sure to practice safe boating. Photo Credit: John Haffey

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- With air and water temperatures steadily rising, there is no better place for Westchester residents to enjoy their Fourth of July celebrations than on the water.

Filled with power boats, jet skis, sailboats, kayaks, paddle boards and more, the Long Island Sound can seem more like a drive on Interstate 95 than a relaxing escape on holiday weekends.

To ensure the safety of all on board, captains should brush up on proper seamanship prior to hitting the high seas. They should be familiar with vessel right of way rules, recommended operating speeds, proper use of navigation aids, proper anchoring and mooring techniques and a basic understanding of local waters.

Be sure to alway drink responsibly after leaving port. Fireworks and sparklers also should be left ashore; handling an open flame while surrounded by gas, oil and fuel vapor is a recipe for disaster.

It also is impossible to overstate the necessity of practicing proper seamanship. Watching boats repeatedly throttle through no-wake zones, dangerously overtaking slower vessels, and carelessly weighing anchor is enough to make even the most salt-blooded captain spend the holiday weekend ashore. Both the Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron offer online tutorials to help captains brush up on simple rules before heading out.

The Sound's main draw is the incredible views it offers; boaters can watch fireworks in Manhattan, Westchester, Long Island and Connecticut by simply turning their heads. When anchoring among a crowd of boats, be sure to let out ample anchor line to ensure the anchor catches. Also remember to leave a swing radius large enough to avoid hitting other anchored boats should the wind shift.

Before packing the cooler and casting off this weekend, following these few simple rules and using common sense can maximize fun on the water. Your crew, guests and other boaters will be thankful you did.

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