Northeast Ohio residents enjoyed Independence Day on land and on the water Wednesday, but a day on the water can lead to a day of trouble if you're not careful.
An example of that happened Wednesday when a minor fuel spill from a local boat shut down part of the Rock and Dock Marina.
Captain Carl Walker and the Cleveland Maine towing company responded to that call and at least three others on Wednesday.
“This year we seen a lot more salvages, there have been a lot more accidents,” said Captain Walker.
There has been an uptick in towing and sinking incidents with nearly 120 already this season.
Just last week, Captain Walker responded to call where a boater crashed right into the rocks in the middle of the lake. Also, two weeks ago, another boat at Edgewater caught on fire.
“Could it be that the water is a lot higher than it’s been in recent years...new boaters, a lot of people are flocking back to the lake,” he said.
But with that, he says there are more boaters not being aware of their surroundings.
“This is a great, great recreational activity, but you have to be safe," Captain Walker said. Especially during the holidays, he sees more people drinking and partying while boating, which can be dangerous.
“Alcohol and boating - doesn’t go together,” said Captain Walker.
That’s something he and the Coast Guard are on the lookout for, especially on the July Fourth holiday.
“With increased boating traffic during a holiday weekend, the Coast Guard always has a presence on the lakes,” said Lauren Steenson, spokesperson for the Northeast Ohio Coastguard.
Captain Walker said most situations could be avoided if boaters weren’t so hasty to get out on the water.
“Check your boat, make sure your maintenance is right,” he said.
Captain Carl anticipated he would have at least 10 more tows throughout the day.
The Rock and Dock marina opened back up around 1 p.m., but Captain Carl and the Coast Guard were still stressing boaters to be aware of their surroundings and maintenance on their own boats.