Stay safe and sober on the water

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Independence Day is tomorrow!

For many people, it’s time to let loose and relax, usually opting for a water activity.

Many people have known their plan for the Fourth for a while now. Whether that’s boating or swimming, it’s important to know how to stay safe while you’re doing these things.

“First and foremost we recommend that everybody wears a life jacket at all times whether they’re on a boat or near the water. Other than that we would recommend people communicate their plan, have a plan, let people know where you’re going to be. And just observe good seamanship when you’re out on the water,” Senior Chief Petty Officer Matthew Riesberg with the United States Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard will be patrolling the water this holiday, making sure that everyone is following the rules.

The Coast Guard knows that the Fourth is a holiday when people like to drink — so they will be paying close attention.

“Boating under the influence laws are no different than driving a car. It’s .08 when you’re on the water. We have a pretty good observation of those tactics there,” Riesberg said.

Not only will they be patrolling on the water, but also on the beaches, making sure everyone is safe and able to swim due to the risk of drowning.

“I’d say we do have more cases around Ontario beach, Durand beach, just due to the sheer number of people that are out there. With more people you can have more problems just by percentage base, by people overthinking their capabilities. So be responsible and thoughtful with your actions,” Riesburg said.

Ray Pagan will be out on the water Tuesday to celebrate.

“We’re planning on bringing sandwiches, some sodas, no alcohol — keeping it safe, priority number one. Ensuring that my wife and I are safe, family are safe,” Pagan said.

Pagan and his wife say they will be doing everything the right way on the Fourth, starting with not drinking behind the wheel.

They say it is important not only for them to be safe boaters, but for everyone else as well.

“That’s extremely important. To ensure that boat safety is a priority. It’s just worse than driving a car. Driving a car you can pull over. You cannot do that on a boat. So priority number one is safety,” Pagan said.

Riesberg says there are many ways for you to learn to stay as safe while boating.

The Coast Guard Auxillary and New York State both offer safe boating courses.

You can find the Coast Guard Auxillary courses here.

And you can find the New York State courses here.