The U.S. Coast Guard is asking boaters to take proper fireworks precautions during the Fourth of July weekend.
The Coast Guard is urging boaters not to launch or use fireworks onboard vessels, because they can be mistaken as a sign of distress.
“Every Fourth of July, Coast Guard personnel receive and respond to numerous reports of boaters firing emergency flares from their vessels,” 11th Coast Guard District Command Center Chief Lt. Cmdr. Nathaniel Johnson said in a statement released Wednesday.
The Coast Guard is also reminding boaters not to use safety flares as fireworks, because the flares are recognized internationally as a sign of distress.
It is a federal felony for anyone to knowingly and willfully give a false distress message to the Coast Guard, officials said.
The Coast Guard is asking boaters to follow safety tips including wearing life jackets, having the proper safety equipment onboard, filing a float plan, not boating under the influence and keeping children informed of water safety.
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