GREENSBORO, NC -- Many families will celebrate the 4th of July on the water and if you're one of them we want you to be safe. The 4th of July is one of the most popular holidays to go boating and it's also one of the deadliest. That's why WFMY News 2's Maddie Gardner spoke to Brandon Schroll with Boats Unlimited in Greensboro to get his top safety tips.

Before you get to the lake:

  • Check the trailer and tires:
    • Look for dry rot on the tires and overall condition of trailer.
  • Take a close look at your engine:
    • Check for fuel leaks and water leaks that could potentially cause a fire or submerge the boat.
    • Check lights and instrumentation to make sure everything is working properly.

Know the laws and conditions of the water:

  • Download the WFMY News 2 Weather App and check for storms or bad weather before you head out. Schroll says storms can pop up quickly on the water and it’s best to avoid getting stuck in a dangerous situation.
  • Look at the water, if there are too many people or it looks unsafe wait until it clears out. Pro tip: get there early to avoid crowds and dangerous conditions.
  • You can find a list of North Carolina’s boating laws on
    • Some you’ll want to know:
      • Everyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket.
      • You cannot consume alcohol while driving a boat
    • Also, know the local laws. For example, skiing and swimming aren’t allowed at Lake Townsend and other Triad lakes.
  • Oftentimes there are officials near the lake that can answer any questions or concerns you may have about conditions and laws, don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Finally, it’s not a law, but, be courteous. If you see someone struggling to get their boat in the water or having a hard time on the lake offer to help.

Make sure you have safety equipment and supplies:

  • Everyone in the boat needs to have a life jacket that fits and kids under 13 must wear the jacket when the boat is moving.
  • The boat is also required to have a marine fire extinguisher that is Coast Guard approved.
  • A throw cushion to toss into the water if someone goes overboard is also required by law.
  • Safety gear not required but recommended:
    • Flashlight
    • Anchor
    • Whistle
    • Air horn
    • Safety ski mirror

Overall, be safe:

  • Power boats must yield to kayakers and sail boats.
  • If you fall off the boat or are in the water swimming, make yourself visible. Don’t think just because your head is above water that other boaters can see you. Wave your arms or put a wakeboard or skis in the air.
  • Choose a bright-colored life jacket.
  • Over the weekend wildlife officials will be cracking down on drinking while boating. If you’re driving a boat you cannot drink. Passenger can consume alcohol (if they’re older than the legal drinking age, of course).