What’s July 4 without a sky lit in red, white and blue? Thousands of Long Islanders will line up along gorgeous waterfronts to watch the sky sparkle. But the luckier ones will get to see the fireworks from the water.
Captain Ryan Bayley, who owns the Great South Bay franchise of Sea Tow, is one of them. If you’re like him, you’ll want to make sure to take proper precautions before heading out on the water—especially since navigating a boat on such a busy night can be tricky.
First, always secure a designated sober driver. If that’s you, practice boating at night to become familiar with the area. It’s also a good idea to chart your route to the on-water fireworks viewing zone in advance and use GPS-enabled electronics to assist you.
The day of the show, arrive as early as possible to ensure a good spot. Captain Bayley’s recommendation: close to the barge, but outside the safety area surrounding it. And keep away from other boaters, especially since a strong wind can move a boat’s position from its anchor point. If it happens to be a windy night, don’t worry. Simply avoid anchoring your boat down wind of the fireworks so you won’t be in direct path of the embers. Bringing a fire extinguisher on board is also a good idea in case any sparks do happen to land on your boat.
The more the merrier isn’t the case during boat outings. Don’t go over weight capacity, and don’t rely on the number of seats on board as the best indicator. For those who do make the trip, make sure to sport a traditional or inflatable life jacket. Also, remind them to keep their entire body inside the boat at all times!
Don’t rush to leave after the show is over either. Let traffic clear out and don’t ever follow the crowd. Following another boater who is unfamiliar with the area can lead to running your boat aground, especially at night. What you should follow, however, are the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary designated zones. They are only there to protect you, insisted Captain Bayley.
Once you’ve crossed all his safety tips off your checklist, kick back and enjoy the show! “You can’t get as close to fireworks on land as you can on a boat,” said Captain Bayley. “They are not off in the distance; they are right above you. There’s nothing like it.”
Wondering where to catch the best fireworks show this year? Sea Tow, the international marine assistance provider based in Southold, has you covered with that, too. Take a peek at the company’s picks for the top seven places to watch July 4 fireworks by boat.
Sag Harbor’s Firework Celebration
When: Saturday, June 30, 9:30pm
Where: within 5 miles of Long Wharf in Sag Harbor
Connetquot River Fireworks
When: Tuesday, July 3, 9:15pm
Where: Connetquot River in Oakdale
Jones Beach Fireworks
When: Wednesday, July 4, 8:30pm
Where: around Jones Beach’s coastline
When: Wednesday, July 4, 9:20pm
Where: off the coast of Crab Meadow Beach, Waterview Street West in Fort Salonga
When: Wednesday, July 4, 9pm
Where: off the coast of Port Jefferson’s East and West Beaches as the barge is in the sound between Port Jefferson and Mt Sinai
Stars Over Montauk
When: Wednesday, July 4, 9:15pm
Where: off the coast of Umbrella Beach, 742 Montauk Highway in Montauk
Shelter Island Fireworks
When: Saturday, July 7, 9pm
Where: off the coast of Crescent Beach in Shelter Island