Huntsville Fire and Rescue warns of boating dangers ahead of Independence Day

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - If your Fourth of July plans include a boat, you need to know some things before you hit the water.

"The biggest thing is common sense," said Captain Frank McKenzie with Huntsville Fire and Rescue.

On the water, sometimes the excitement of the holiday can get ahead of what you really need to be paying attention to.

"Don't go crazy out there, don't be flying across the river. There's going to be a lot of people out there," said Captain McKenzie.

A good time can quickly turn into an unfortunate accident.

"The biggest thing is wear a life jacket," said Captain McKenzie. "Most of your drownings occur because people are not wearing life jackets."

Keeping all necessary equipment in your boat is an essential safety measure.

"Have your fire extinguisher. I know you're on water, but if you have a fire on the boat, you're going to have to put it out. Have the extinguisher," said Captain McKenzie.

"Have your proper equipment you're supposed to have there--the flotation device, the throw vest."

Captain McKenzie says being prepared before you hit the water can keep you and your family from being in a boating accident.

According to Alabama law, you must be at least 14-years-old with a boater safety certification to operate a vessel without supervision.