Tomorrow is July 4th and the nation's leading on-water assistance provider is urging everyone to play it safe when out on a boat all summer long.

The Sea Tow Foundation wants everyone to designate a sober skipper at all times while on any type of water craft. While many people like to have fun and indulge in a cocktail or two, if you're manning the controls, you should be drinking water, juice or tea. Everyone on board the boat should make the decision before getting on that it's a responsible way of keeping safe, very similar to designating a driver in a car.

According to figures from the United States Coast Guard, alcohol was a contributing factor in 16 percent of boating fatalities last year. Boating is a great pastime but everyone should enjoy it responsibly. It's against the law for a person to operate any type of vehicle, including boats, under the influence. Sea Tow Services International along with the Sea Tow Foundation are supporting the sober skipper rule all year round, summer or not.

According to Foundation Executive Director Gail Kulp, "We recommend limiting the use of alcohol by other passengers on the boat. Boaters typically are exposed to sun and wind, which can be dehydrating and accelerate the effects of even small amounts of alcohol. Everyone will be safer if they switch to other beverages."

Kulp adds, "We continue to promote this message that the man or woman behind the wheel at the boat should always be the designated boater. There are no exceptions. Most states, including New Jersey, set the threshold of a blood alcohol level of .08. Any higher than that, you can end up in jail, paying a huge fine and maybe losing your driving and boating privileges."

In addition, Kulp hopes everyone remembers to wear a life jacket when they operate or even ride on a water craft.

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