Press Release via Sea Tow Foundation

Taking friends and family out in your boat to watch a local winter boat parade gives you a front-row seat for all the lights and action. In addition to being festive and fun, however, these seasonal events can cause crowded and disorienting conditions on the water. The Sea Tow Foundation offers the following tips for boaters heading out to watch a parade, to ensure everyone on board will have a safe and enjoyable time.

  1. Designate a Sober Skipper to stay at the helm all evening and be responsible for returning the boat and its passengers safely to shore after the parade is over.
  2. Watch your weight. Don’t overload the boat with passengers. Look for the boat’s capacity plate on the transom or by the helm, or look up the passenger capacity in the boat’s manual.
  3. Don’t forget your life jacket! Make sure everyone onboard the boat is wearing warm clothes topped by either a traditional or an inflatable life jacket that fits. Navigating at night in a crowd of other vessels can be just as dangerous as boating in stormy weather or in fog.
  4. Things look different at night. Remember that in the dark, visual navigation markers you rely on during the day may be invisible. Chart your route to the on-water parade-viewing zone in advance, and use GPS-enabled electronics to help you find your way, if necessary.
  5. Relax and enjoy the show. Don’t be in a rush to get home; let some of the boat traffic clear out before you raise anchor after the parade is over.
  6. Listen Up! Obey U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary designated zones and follow their orders – they are only out there to protect you.

Read the full release.