Don’t know about where you live but here in Philadelphia the fourth of July fireworks display will be tomorrow, Saturday July 2. There will be thousands viewing the spectacular show shore side on the Delaware but others will be on the water, albeit at a safe distance from the fireworks themselves. The USCG will make sure of that.
The bigger problem arises when the fireworks celebration is over and those on-the-water viewers’ head back to port. Many who venture out on this one night a year are not used to operating in the dark and most will be in a hurry to get home. In addition, they also may have had their vision impaired by the bright lights of the fireworks, and heaven forbid an adult beverage or two. All these facts make for a pending disaster waiting to happen.
This 30-foot powerboat (pictured above) collided with another vessel at night on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks. Boaters will need to be extra vigilant boating over the July 4th holiday weekend, especially after the sun goes down.
Boating at night requires a heightened awareness of the unique hazards a boat may encounter. Obstructions from something as simple as a buoy or even a floating log, to unlighted piers or sandbars, are much more difficult to see. Always post an extra crewmate or guest as a secondary lookout.
Vessel navigation lights are designed to not only help others understand a boat’s direction of travel or how fast it is going, but also to help determine what type of vessel it is and what activity it is doing, such as towing a barge. However, it may take a while to get a clear picture of these factors, so be especially vigilant in your approach until you are certain of their intentions. This is why it’s so important to ensure your own navigation lights are in proper working order as well.