The Fourth of July is a glorious holiday that revolves around family, friends, food, and good times. Independence Day weekend is also the second most popular boating weekend out of the year, in the USA, with thousands of people flocking to the waterways for local camaraderie. If this is your first year on the water for the celebrations, you are in for a treat. Whether you plan to commemorate on your own boat, a rental, or a charter, here are some boat day ideas, holiday recipes, and safety tips to help you kick start the celebration.
The Fourth of July holiday isn’t the same without a good ole fashion BBQ cookout. Gather with family and friends on board, and fire up the grill and make use of your deck space and galley for the ultimate holiday cookout. View our July Fourth Pinterest board below for some crowd-pleasing holiday recipes for onboard grilling and delicious make-ahead side dishes and desserts.
Show your patriotism this July 4 by joining a local boat parade. Deck your boat out in red, white, and blue for all to see as you cruise the coastline. Coastal communities around the country host Independence Day boat parades every year (check your local news source for more information on event times.) Show off your design skills, all while having a great time with your local boating community.
Get an early start this holiday weekend and join your fellow boaters at a nearby sandbar for the ultimate hangout spot this Fourth of July. Sandbars offer the perfect setting for gathering with friends and family, relaxing, people watching, swimming, snorkeling, and much more. See our list of top sandbars along the Gulf Coast of Florida here.
You can’t celebrate Independence Day without a fitting music playlist. List as many patriotic-themed songs as you can think of and create the ultimate Fourth of July playlist for all to enjoy while underway. See how many song names you can think of before having to turn to Google. We listed a few songs below to help you get started on your playlist.
Spend this holiday at your favorite fishing spot with friends and family. Nothing beats a holiday spent in nature with loved ones and a fresh catch of the day for dinner plans. View our interactive fishing map here to find the best locations to fish and boat, no matter where you are in the US. After a well-spent day of fishing, head to the nearest firework display for the best seat in the house.
Boaters hands-down have the best views when it comes to the annual firework displays every Fourth of July. There is nothing better than being right under those spectacular light displays, with a moonlight backdrop and family by your side. Not to mention, no crowds to deal with or traffic afterwards. With that said, check out some of the best Fourth of July firework events on the Gulf Coast here, that are accessible by boat.
With thousands of boaters gathering on the waterways for the holiday weekend, it is crucial to refresh on boating safety guidelines to ensure your safety along with everyone onboard. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind this Fourth of July.
Pay Attention to Surroundings: The most critical navigational equipment you can have onboard are your own eyes and ears. Be cautious of swimmers, divers, water skiers, kayakers, and boats underway.
Be Cautious of Fire: Fiberglass is very flammable, so it is vital to anchor a safe distance away from firework displays. Also, stray sparks from fireworks could ignite spilled fuel or fuel connections, so take caution. Never launch fireworks from your boat and avoid others who are.
Keep Your Distance: As mentioned above, it is crucial to keep your distance from firework displays. Check your state’s boating laws to ensure you are far enough distance away. Check local safety zones before heading out onto the water; many marinas will set up restricted zones before firework displays.
Never Exceed Max Capacity Onboard: On a highly trafficked boating day, it is vital not to overload your boat for many reasons. Overloading a boat reduces freeboard, increases instability, and increases the risk of swamping in rough conditions. Even in calm waters, overloading a vessel is more likely to capsize if an abrupt turn is made or if someone on board suddenly shifts position. Never exceed maximum capacity and always keep enough life jackets on board for everyone.
Check Your Boat Lights: If you plan to watch the firework display on the fourth, be sure to check your lights onboard. In the dark, when boating, the only way to determine a boat’s direction is by seeing its navigation lights.