Everyone wants to be on the water during this holiday weekend. Paddle boarding is a great way to explore the water with friends and family. Keep in mind the waterways are busier than usual because of the holiday festivities. Stay safe this Fourth of July holiday by heeding some importing tips and selecting a safe location. Boarders should consider exploring gulf side waterway options during the day. As inshore waterways have more boat traffic. The beach is a safer option during a holiday weekend.

However, if you prefer inshore water find a protected area away from boat traffic. If you’re looking for an inshore waterway there are two ideal locations that will provide a quiet atmosphere. The Oyster Creek Regional Park located on Placida Road in Englewood is an escape from boats and wind on busy days. There are only a few boats passing out into the bay at this protected location. Another protected area is Blind Pass Beach and Park located on Manasota Key. Access to Lemon Bay at this location keeps beginners far away from boating lanes during the day and at night.

After the sunset, the water glows with your paddle strokes as bioluminescent marine life lights your way. Comb jellies are often seen shimmering in the water as you paddle by them. Decide to be adventurous and paddle under the stars while watching the fireworks from a paddle board.

Fourth of July is the perfect opportunity to explore the water at night. Paddling inshore at Blind Pass Beach and Park will keep you safe and provide an awesome show for the local fireworks at night. Night paddling is safer in groups so invite your friends along for a trip. There are a few rules to paddling in the dark for example a light that can be seen from a half-mile distance is required by the U.S. Coast Guard and a flare just in case. Glow sticks, bracelets and accessories are fun to dress up in but do not technically count as reliable source of light. Boards were considered vessels a few years ago and follow the same rules as kayaks. Vests and whistles are required on every board or kayak.

Summer time showers and storms are back. Check the radar before you head out to the water for a paddling trip. Bring bug spray for a more comfortable trip on the water. The experience of paddling at night offers an amazing view of the coastline. Ensure that you paddle the area of your choice in daylight before paddling at night. Notice any obstacles around your paddling area and underwater such as tree stumps and oysters. Enjoy every bit the water has to offer this holiday weekend. If you’re planning paddling rentals be sure to book in advance. Rental companies in the area will be busier than usual with boards this weekend.