With July 4 falling on Thursday, boaters will have a chance to set up a long weekend on Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the state's many rivers and creeks, and a few simple precautions will help ensure that the fireworks are limited to staged displays.
According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, July is the most dangerous month for boating mishaps, perhaps because the onset of warm weather encourages virtually everyone with a boat to go out.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association urges holiday boaters to follow three basic rules:
Designate a skipper who won't drink alcoholic beverages while operating the boat.
Insist everyone aboard wears an approved life jacket.
Check the legal carrying capacity of the boat, do not exceed it and keep the boat in trim, with crew and weight evenly distributed.
And then go a step further and check the following before leaving the dock or ramp:
Is the drain plug secure?
Is there an approved, properly sized life jacket for everyone aboard?
Is the steering system operating smoothly?
Is the fuel system free of visible leaks or fumes and is there enough aboard to complete the trip?
Is the battery fully charged and all connections tight and do lights, horns, pumps and other electrical equipment work?
Is there a tool kit aboard and is all safety equipment -- fire extinguisher, bailer, paddle, anchor and rode, day and night signaling devices -- on board and in working order?
Is the weather forecast favorable?
Russell Coutts, the New Zealand match-racing skipper who won the last America's Cup, recently won a $250,000 bonus prize for winning his third straight race in the Brut Sailing Series.
Coutts won the Brut Royal Lymington Cup in England without losing a race and the Brut Cup of San Francisco early this month.
Entering the Brut Cup of France, Coutts need to win one of three remaining sanctioned regattas to claim the richest prize in professional sailing.
Sail For Sight
The annual Sail For Sight for the benefit of The Foundation Fighting Blindness was held on the Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Bay earlier this month, and raised more than $70,000, bringing the total raised over eight years to more than $140,000.
Top three finishers in each class:
Fighting Blindness -- 1. Fox, Jim Fox; 2. Sally Tomato, Bill Hahn; 3. Wild Hare, Rick Tucker.
Beach Cats -- 1. Anatomically Correct, Greg and Caroline Seace; 2. No Name, Ann and Grant Redman; 3. Sailing Shoes, Dan Flanigan and Andrea Quinn.
Limited One Design -- 1. Jalapena; 2. Puppy Love, Bill Roberts; 3. Ethiopian Express, Carl Engle.
PHRF A -- 1. The Fish, Bill Shinn; 2. Enormity, Charles Eck; 3. Beep Beep, Dan Mitchell.
PHRF B -- 1. Scrambler, Dick Guth; 2. Intuition, Howdy Strotterhoff; 3. Sizzle, James Parfrey.
PHRF C/D -- 1. Red Streaker, George Culbertson; 2. Haiku, Gordon Latrobe; 3. Marmalade, Mark Hergan.
PHRF NS -- 1. Kinky Turtle, Tom Hollowell; 2. Incommunicado, Tracy/Polk; 3. Spike, Richard Perzynski.
Pub Date: 6/30/96