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Olivia Hudak

By: Olivia Hudak on June 28th, 2022

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The Boater's Guide to 4th of July (Tips and Tricks)

The 4th of July is one of the biggest weekends for anyone living on or near water. Regardless of where you live in the country, it is a huge weekend for those who plan to celebrate America on a boat. 


Being one of the most anticipated weekends on the water, it’s a great time to socialize with friends and family. That said, there is typically a major influx of people who come from all over to lake towns and coastal areas.  


With it being such a popular weekend to be on the water, it makes for one of the most fun weekends of the summer if you celebrate in one of these areas. However, that also means it is one of the busiest weekends to be on the water. This holiday draws tons of traffic which increases the probability of accidents occurring. 


Collectively, everyone needs to be safe and smart while operating a boat no matter what day it is. During this holiday weekend with many waterways experiencing an influx of traffic, it is extremely important to be extra aware and educated on boater’s safety if you plan to be operating a boat. 


There are many aspects to consider before heading into a big holiday weekend on the water. This article will walk you through the steps so that you can have the perfect 4th of July on your boat. 


Step 1: Safety

Safety should always be the most important part of any boating adventure. It is especially important on holiday weekends when boat traffic is higher than normal. Before launching your boat, always be sure you’ve done your research. Know the laws and regulations of the local water


Beyond following local laws and regulations to a T, you need to be ready to act on your toes. With how many uneducated boaters enter the water on the 4th of July, not everyone will be paying attention and following the rules as they should. Be sure you know how to react in a safe way to ensure safety for everyone on board your boat.


Whenever boating, it is extremely important to follow all local, state, and federal laws. This helps to keep you and everyone else on board your boat safe. When you are safe on the water, it also helps keep anyone near you on their boats safe as well. 


Safety is the number one most important thing to consider on the 4th of July weekend. However, it is not the only thing that will make or break the holiday weekend. There are also numerous other things to consider before heading to the water to celebrate. 


[To learn more about safety on the water check out Boater Education 101: Guide to Boating Courses, Boat Licenses, and Laws]


Step 2: Food and Drinks

One very important part of the perfect 4th of July on your boat is to make sure you have the best boat snacks and beverages on board at all times. If you plan on spending countless hours on the water, you will most definitely need to come prepared. Most importantly, you’re going to need a lot of water. 


Dehydration is a serious concern when you spend hours upon hours in the sun. Dehydration can cause major health problems which is why you should include water in the mix with your boat drinks. Be sure you pack plenty for everyone on board to be safe. 


Next, it never hurts to have a good selection of snacks for everyone. Snacks can make or break your time on the water and can extend your day on the boat. The heat mixed with swimming can make for very hungry tummies. Bringing a good selection of boat-worthy snacks along is always a good idea.


Packing a good selection of food and drinks in your boat cooler will be clutch. You never know what someone may need after they’ve spent hours in the sun. If you’ve got a large crew, I recommend asking everyone to pitch in and bring their own. This is an important part of enjoying the boat on the 4th of July.


Step 3: Sun Protection

One thing you will most definitely not want to forget to bring with you on the boat is sun protection. This would include sunblock, hats, UV protective clothing, sunglasses, and items like extra towels to shade yourself if you need relief from the sun. Bring anything necessary for protecting yourself against the sun. When spending countless hours on the boat this holiday weekend, you won’t want to get burnt.


Be sure you pack plenty of sun protection for you and everyone else on board your boat. It will make everyone's time on the water more enjoyable. If you don’t stock up on the SPF, just make sure you stock up on aloe. 


Step 4: Patriotic Music and Attire

While spending the 4th of July weekend on the boat you’ll most likely be listening to some patriotic music. This music is often a fan favorite as it builds on the celebration of the American spirit. It is a great way to celebrate the holiday weekend. 


Along with adding some patriotic music to your boating playlist, you’ll also want to be sure to throw a red, white, and blue shirt on. Maybe grab a fun patriotic bucket hat to add to the celebratory atmosphere. Everyone will be sure to comment on your patriotic attire, especially if it’s a bit more on the wild side.


Step 5: Bundle up for Fireworks

At some point during the weekend of the 4th of July, if fireworks are legal in your local area, you can find a way to watch fireworks from the comfort of your boat. Most lakes host a firework display over the water or on the shoreline. Be sure to plan ahead and know when that takes place in your area so that you’ve got a game plan to be parked for the show by dusk. 


No matter how hot it gets during the day, there’s a chance you’ll need gear to stay warm during the fireworks show.  Grab a boat blanket or extra towels for everyone on board. Sometimes it’s necessary to throw a sweatshirt on as well to stay warm on a chilly evening. Do whatever you need to do to enjoy as much time on your boat as you wish. 


Step 6: Anchor Down

It’s finally time to watch the fireworks show. You’re likely going to have to park in a deep area and not at a sandbar like normal. You’ll need to make sure you have plenty of anchor rope for the anchor to reach the bottom.


Depending on your waterway, it may be significantly deeper than where you typically drop your anchor. The seafloor may vary from your typical parking spot as well so make sure you’re prepared with the right type of anchor. I keep a Richter anchor with tons of rope on my boat specifically for parking in deeper areas of the lake for the fireworks each year. 


Sit Back and Relax

If you follow these steps for the perfect 4th of July weekend, you’ll have a great experience on the water. Boating on the 4th of July is one of my favorite times to be out on the lake with family and friends. Although, it can turn into a disaster very quickly if safety is not the top priority.


The 4th of July is such a busy weekend on most if not all waterways. Take that into account before launching your boat. Be sure you, as a driver, have the skills needed to keep everyone on your boat and everyone else on the water safe. 


If you take boater’s safety seriously, the rest of the steps to a perfect 4th of July weekend on the water should come effortlessly. You’ll be prepared for the best weekend on the water. Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your weekend.

LC (1)

About Olivia Hudak

Avid boater and Barletta Boats team member, Olivia is no stranger to the water. She was on the MSU wake team through college and continues to to ride the wake in her spare time.