Large ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, inlets and the Chesapeake Bay – even the Atlantic Ocean.

Whether you have a passing interest or are a diehard boater, our region is blessed with all the opportunities to spend time on the water.

Surrounded and filled with waters are filled with what can only be called a boater’s paradise.

But even with all that wonderful world, there can be problems.

Look around … boaters are everywhere and not all of them are seasoned enough to consider them skilled.

And while the summer is one of the busiest times of the year for the boating community, at no time are crowds going to be larger than this holiday weekend.

July 4 is a time most who own vessels – or are friends with those who do – spend on the water.

There’s going to be a lot going on.

State and federal agencies have been issuing alerts for those who will be boating to be more prepared than ever. It should always be that way, but let’s face it – things aren’t always as they should be.

Lack of skill and knowledge – and flat out stupidity – can be rampant on a weekend like this one.

The fine folks here at Lynnhaven Marine strive to help people be as safe as humanly possibly. It can be dangerous on the water, especially when things get crowded, and folks need to make sure they have their acts together.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Make sure your vessel is in good running order.

You simply must have all of your Coast Guard approved safety devices are on the boat.

Have an extra set of eyes on the boat because four or six are better than two.

Boaters should wear floatation devices when running, and all children should wear them at all times.

It’s not going to be a good time to need a boat towing company or city/state agency to be called – they’re all going to be slammed with problems.

It’s better to not be one of them.

This holiday also has a tendency to be a party-type weekend and that can spell even more trouble than usual. Make sure someone else on the boat isn’t drinking and knows how to run things. Drinking while running a boat is just as bad as driving a car under the influence.

Cruises, shoreline parties, dinner stops and nighttime fireworks shows all are on the menu.

Let’s have fun on the water this weekend, but be safe, cautious and always aware.

In the long run, it’ll be a more memorable time if there aren’t any problems.

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