NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The 4th of July is Monday, and many will be celebrating the entire weekend. Coast Guard officials are expecting increased traffic on the water. The Coast Guard is urging the public to make safe choices while celebrating.

The Coast Guard wants boaters to remember these tips before leaving the dock:

Coast Guard urges safety during 4th of July weekend
  • Always check the local weather before heading out. Weather can change rapidly, so mariners planning on getting underway should keep a watchful eye on the forecast conditions.
  • Make sure a friend or relative knows your float plan. A float plan states where you are going and how many people are aboard your vessel. It also gives a vessel description, details of your destination, and what time you expect to arrive there. If you are delayed for some reason, make sure you let someone know.
  • Obtain a free, no-fault vessel safety check from your local Coast Guard Auxiliary before heading out on the water. Safety checks are courtesy examinations of your vessel designed to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations.
  • Do not drink and boat. According to the 2021 recreational boating statistics, alcohol use was the leading known contributing factor to fatalities which resulted in a total of 86 deaths and contributed to 247 accidents and 186 injuries nationwide.
  • Do not use flares as fireworks. Flares are a recognized sign of distress.
  • Equip your vessel with working communication equipment. A VHF-FM radio is the best method of communication while on the water. Although cell phones are a good backup, they can be unreliable due to gaps in coverage area and battery life.
  • Don’t allow friends and family members to bow-ride. Bow-riding refers to the unsafe practice of passengers remaining on the bow of a recreational vessel while it is making its way.
  • Wear your life jacket!