COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — This Friday, hundreds of thousands of spectators plan to watch the fireworks display during downtown Columbus’ Red, White & BOOM!
While the majority of festival-goers will be on land, quite a few will enjoy the sights from the water.
“We’ve seen an increase in pontoons, fishing boats, canoes — every year we see more and more people coming out because it really is the best seat in the house,” said Major Steven Tucker, with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Tucker said viewing the fireworks from the Scioto River has become more popular, but with that popularity comes the need for protection.
“We don’t allow them to get on the water if they don’t have a floatation device for every single person present on the boat,” Tucker said.
Furthermore, boaters are prohibited from consuming alcoholic beverages while on the water.
However, the main concern of the sheriff’s office involves falling ash and embers from the fireworks, which is why FCSO is making sure to keep all watercraft a safe distance away.
“Under all the bridges, there’s typically a lot of debris,” said Deputy Stephen Withrow, with the FCSO Dive Rescue & Recovery Team.
Withrow said that throughout the day, certain parts of the river will be blocked off for boaters’ safety.
He added that the sheriff’s office will be making sure each watercraft is respectful of the other.
“Give yourself room between yourself and the other vessels, so when you’re anchored you don’t sway, hit somebody else and cause them to capsize,” he said.