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Tow service expects busy holiday

JUNE 30 — While fireworks displays, family cruises and other activities will draw boaters to the water this July Fourth holiday weekend, BoatU.S. expects boat traffic to be down.

“With waterfront town fireworks displays on different dates and the varied vacation schedules of boaters, there will probably be less congestion on the Fourth,” says Jerry Cardarelli, vice president of BoatU.S. Towing Services, in a news release.

Despite the anticipated drop off, BoatU.S. says it should receive about 4,000 calls into the association’s TowBoatU.S. and Vessel Assist dispatch centers for assistance over the five-day holiday period. “It’s still going to be pretty busy out there navigating your way home in the dark and we caution all boaters not to let their guard down,” Cardarelli says.

TowBoastU.S. and Vessel Assist provide boaters with tows back to port, fuel drop-offs and battery jump starts. Cardarelli says in the release that about half of all calls for assistance are classified as general engine failures, followed by soft groundings, dead batteries and running out of fuel.

Ruth Wood, president of the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, recommends that boaters brush up on their skills with the foundation’s online “Boater’s Toolbox.”“Boating stress factors such as fatigue and long exposure to the sun will increase alcohol’s effect on the body,” Wood says in the release. “So if you want to have a post-fireworks drink, wait until you and your crew get home.”

—Jason Fell