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Boating safety tips & best fireworks viewing areas

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For the first time in five years, the Macy's fireworks spectacular is coming back to the East River. Barges of fireworks will be on the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge.

The U.S. Coast Guard is stepping up patrols of the waters to ensure everyone is safe for the show and throughout the holiday weekend.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Mark Magrino is the patrol commander for July 4.  He shared tips for safe boating from aboard a U.S. Coast Guard response boat in New York Harbor and the best locations to view the fireworks show from the water.

To stay safe:

1. Have a plan. Notify folks at home where you intend to be going.

2. Have the appropriate rescue and survival equipment. Coast Guard auxiliary, NY and NJ Parks commission provide information.

3. Don’t drink alcohol and operate a vessel.

4. No overcrowding on boat. Know what the free board is: the height of the water to the top of the vessel.

5. Track the storm. It appears to be heading off shore. Watch the weather, watch the maritime forecast. The show is expected to go on. Take the necessary precautions.

6. Fireworks at 9:20 pm. Restrictions between 6 pm and 11 pm. Generally, boats need to be in position by 8 p.m.- 9 p.m. to watch the fireworks, BUT there are specific restrictions depending on where you are on the water. For the most accurate information, go to the U.S. Coast Guard Homeport Site for details. Also, listen to Coast Guard assets and safety assets.

The best viewing areas from the water:

  • Just north of the Manhattan Bridge there will be designated viewing areas for vessels over 65 ft. and under 65 ft. for boats coming primarily from the Long Island Sound.
  • Viewing areas will be established in the the Buttermilk Channel on the east side of Governor’s Island and in the vicinity of the Battery for vessels under 65 ft.
  • Fireworks show at Liberty State Park will also have a designated viewing area.

Follow the U.S. Coast Guard Station New York on Facebook and U.S. Coast Guard New York City on Facebook

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