Coast Guard encourages safety during July 4th holiday

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Coast Guard reminds the public to be safe on and around the water during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The days surrounding the Fourth of July holiday typically see a high number of boaters, divers, surfers, and beach-goers out on the water. In the past week, the Coast Guard responded to a wide range of cases in Northern California, including assisting three disabled vessels on Lake Tahoe, San Pablo Bay, and Monterey, two teenagers found near Bodega Bay in a kayak wearing no life jackets, and searching for a missing abalone diver near Elk, Calif.

The Coast Guard advises the public to take responsibility for their safety on the lakes and ocean. Everyone should be aware of, and obey, all federal and state regulations for recreational boating and navigation.

“We want everyone to enjoy their Fourth of July weekend, but most importantly we want them to be safe on the water” said Capt. Kelly Hatfield, 11th Coast Guard District chief of staff. “Boating accidents happen very suddenly and you don’t have time to put on a life jacket. Everyone should prepare for the unexpected by wearing life jackets and ensuring they have proper survival and communications gear at the ready.”

The Coast Guard offers the following safety tips:

Wear a life jacket

The law states you must have a life jacket for every person aboard, but the Coast Guard suggests you go one step further and wear it at all times when boating. It is much more difficult to locate access or don a life jacket at the moment an accident occurs. Historically, about 75 percent of the people who die in boating accidents drown. Of those who drown, about 80 percent were not wearing life jackets.

If you do find yourself in trouble and in the water, stay with your vessel for as long as possible, even if capsized. Do not try to swim for shore.

Click this link for more information about safe boating:

Safety Equipment

Based on the size and type of a vessel, there may be specific federal requirements for safety equipment.

Click on the following link to review the federal requirement brochure:

Do not boat under the influence       

Do not boat under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. These affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination. Factor in boat motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray and impairment is accelerated.

Always file a float plan

Always file a float plan. Before leaving, let someone know when you plan to leave, where you plan to go, which course you plan to take, and when you will arrive at your destination.

Click on the following link for more information about float plans:

Keep children informed of water safety

The Coast Guard encourages the boating public to educate children on water safety.  There are kid-friendly resources ready for the task!

Boating Safety Sidekicks:


If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.