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From The Boathouse: Independence Day on the horizon

June 28, 2012|By Mike Whitehead

Ahoy!

The Fourth of July falls midweek this year, on a Wednesday, which might help to lighten the crowds on the waterways.

The Fourth is known as one of the busiest boating times of the year on our waterways across the country. Whenever the weather is picture perfect on Independence Day, the numbers increase and boating organizations, harbor patrols and the Coast Guard remind boaters to boat safely and be courteous to fellow boaters.

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However, in Orange County's three harbors, there will be annual events for boaters and landlubbers. The first events are in Newport Harbor, starting with the American Legion Post 291's Boat Parade, and then after dark comes the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort's popular fireworks display.

"It Stands for Freedom" is the theme of this year's annual American Legion's parade, which begins at 1 p.m.

"Every year, you are in for a patriotic surprise as all kinds of boats try to outshine each other, waiting for the loudest ovations from onlookers," parade Chairman Jon Reynolds said.

The crowds are always thrilled as the Newport Harbor patrol fireboat leads the parade, with water shooting out of the forward-mounted fire monitor. Then, the brightly decorated boats with guests aboard dressed in costumes line in behind the fireboat to progress throughout the harbor as spectators watch from boats and the shore.

After dark in Newport Harbor, boaters can watch the Newport Dunes' fireworks display. The fireworks start at 9 p.m. and typically last for 21 minutes.

Boaters entering the Back Bay at night are cautioned, as you must follow the unlit channel markers or risk grounding. Also, boaters need to know the tide levels for clearance under the Coast Highway Bridge. Actually, my favorite spot to watch from a boat is in the large turning by the anchorage area.

In South County, you can watch Dana Point's July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza that is scheduled to light up the harbor's sky at 9 p.m. The fireworks will be shot off a barge that's anchored offshore of Doheny State Beach. Doheny is adjacent to the south of Dana Point Harbor, so boaters will have an excellent view from their boats whether underway or relaxing in a slip.

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