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Annual Guide to 4th of July Fireworks

May 30, 2018

The Fourth of July falls on Wednesday in 2018. Accuweather is predicting a dry and not-unduly-warm July, weather.com is calling for an average July (80-degree temps, and dry) and  my fav - darksky.net is predicting mid-70s and clear for the Fourth. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
What follows is the annual Long Island Boating World guide to some of the most popular and traditional watch-by-boat fireworks in our area for this year’s Fourth of July celebrations. These are shows we could confirm (as of May 11). Check locally before venturing out.

 

 

And, Before Heading Out …
We offer the following tips:
• You’re the captain of your vessel and responsible for your crew’s/passenger’s safety. Yes, you want to see the fireworks, but unless you’re tied up to a pier/dock, pay attention to what’s going on around you.
• This is night boating and not everybody is familiar, at ease or competent to run at night. And if you aren’t, don’t make the Fourth of July your first attempt. Do a night practice run if possible. If not, fleet up with an experienced night boater.
• No matter how many people want to go, use your head and limit the number to what is safe, comfortable and sane. Don’t be afraid to say “no.”
• Make sure those requiring it wear life jackets; the last thing you want is a child oohing and ahhing right over the rails. Make sure everybody aboard — especially any first timers — can actually swim … just ask.
• If you’re bringing a first timer aboard, make them take Dramamine, etc., especially if they “never get seasick” on any boat (read: ferry) on which they’ve ever traveled. There’s no point in ruining a terrific evening because of mal de mer.
• Bring extra fenders for rafting-up, and extra line to rig your boat to others. Rafting-up is always fun, but often that friend of a friend of a buddy may not be quite as skilled as you think you are.
• The earlier you arrive and drop the hook at your chosen spot, the better. The more room you have to let out a realistic scope, and account for tide, wind or current swings, the better. Again, pay attention to what’s going on around you.
• Leave any imbibing of anything alcoholic until you’re safely back at the home dock.
• Tell your guests to bring their own flashlights; headlights are preferable, in my opinion.
The tide data in this article comes mostly from www.saltwatertides.com. Times are given in 24-hour clock to avoid confusion (unless the 24-hour clock confuses you!). Nonetheless, check your tide tables before setting out and, if you haven’t updated your charts for the season, do so.

 

Jones Beach
The Sterling National Bank July 4th Fireworks at Jones Beach State Park  will be held on Wednesday, July 4, 2018, scheduled to start at 2130, so get anchored up at Zach’s Bay early, and plan on staying the night, because this show is always jammed, boat and otherwise. Info can be had at 516-785-1600.
NOAA Chart 12326. Low tide at Jones Inlet (Pt. Lookout) is 1824 going high at 0042 on July 5. High tide at Biltmore Shores in South Oyster Bay is 1502, going low at 2121.
Previously (nothing in the LNMs as we went to press), to accommodate the Jones Beach State Park July 4 fireworks event, the Meadowbrook and Wantagh State Parkway Bridges, both across Sloop Channel at mile 12.8 and at mile 15.4 respectively, need not open for the passage of vessel traffic between 2100 and midnight. Vessels that can pass under the draw without a bridge opening may do so at all times. Mariners are advised to plan their transits accordingly.
 
Macy’s 4th of July
The 42nd Annual Macy’s Fourth of July show will be held on Wednesday, July 4, 2018, and is scheduled for around 2120, and will go on for 25-or-so minutes. Music will be simulcast on 1010 WINS and NBC will have a national two-hour broadcast. The show will be shot from two locations on the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge. Check the USCG LNM (or the Macy’s website below) as the day nears; there will be Safety Zone restrictions, which usually go into effect around 1800. The show hotline number is: 212-494-4495; www.macys.com/fireworks.
NOAA Chart 12327. Low tide at the Brooklyn Bridge is 1919 on July 4, going high at 0149 on July 5.
 
Sag Harbor
The Sag Harbor Yacht Club will present the John A. Ward Independence Day Fireworks show — named in memory of one of the YC’s “most beloved members” — on Saturday, June 30, 2018 (check for rain date). This SHYC tradition has become a major attraction on the East End of Long Island, annually drawing 20,000 plus spectators to Sag Harbor’s waterfront and village. This year’s fireworks display will be orchestrated by the Grucci’s.
The show starts approximately 2130 and is shot from a barge outside the breakwater. The best viewing spots are outside the breakwater or in the town anchorage. You’ll also be able to view it pretty much anywhere between the southern end of North Haven Peninsula and Northwest Harbor off Mashomack Point on Shelter Island.
Pay attention to the tide and your chart and depth sounder if you choose to anchor up northeast and east of the breakwater; there are some very shoal and rocky waters adjacent to all the deeper channels, which are well marked. NOAA Chart 12358. Low tide at Sag Harbor on June 30 is at 1848, going high at the 104 on July 1.
 
Riverhead
The only thing we could confirm at press time was that the fireworks on the Peconic River Waterfront in Riverhead will be shot on Monday, July 5, 2018. Traditionally there has been a family-friendly concert starting around 1900-ish, with entertainers walking the crowd, stilt walkers, face painters, etc., and then fireworks, starting at 2100. This year’s show will be combined with the Alive on 25 events, so they’ll be plenty to do if you can tie up.
Boats tie up at the town dock early (often days before) and go four, five and more rafted wide along its length. It is possible to see the fireworks from the wide area just east of the Atlantis Aquarium and off Treasure Cove Resort Marina (the latter may have transient dockage available).
Tides for South Jamesport correspond with the Peconic River times minus about a half-hour. High at South Jamesport on Thursday, July 5 is 1820, going low at 0055 on July 6 —about perfect for the area. NOAA Chart 12358. Vertical clearance on the Route 105 Bridge is 25 feet.
 
Shelter Island
Shelter Island’s Chamber of Commerce 61st version of this Grucci-fired show is scheduled for Saturday, July 7, 2018 (rain date July 8).
This is a 100-percent donor supported show (a certified 501(c)3 charity), so you can donate and/or get more information at www.shelterislandfireworks.com.
        
The show will be held off its usual spot: Crescent Beach on the northwest side of the island between the North Ferry (opposite Greenport) and Jennings Point.
Good viewing points are the northern reaches of Southold Bay, Pipes Cove and on the south side of the Greenport/Shelter Island channel; there is very deep and fast water in the channel proper.
NOAA Chart 12358. High tide at Greenport is 1830 on July 7 going low at 0050 on July 8.
 
Connetequot River - Oakdale
The Grucci folks are shooting this sponsor-driven show on July 3, 2018. Last year’s site was about 1000-feet east of the Snapper Inn in Oakdale. The best place to view it would be in the Connetequot River mouth/Nicoll Bay, behind Timber Point/Nicoll Island. It can be pretty shallow there, however. Docking might be available on a first come, first serve basis if you’re dining at the Snapper Inn.
NOAA chart 12326. Low tide for Great River/Connetequot River is 2135 on July 3 with high at 0337.
 
Southampton
The 31st Southampton Fresh Air Home’s Annual American Picnic with Fireworks by Grucci is scheduled for Saturday, June 30, 2018 (check www.sfah.org/americanpicnic for rain date). This is a private fundraiser for the Southampton Fresh Air Home which provides camp facilities for handicapped children. General admission on the grounds runs between $150 and $300, with a table of 10 going for $2000 (and more). To purchase tickets, go to: www.sfah.org.
NOAA chart is 12352. On June 30, high tide at Ponquogue Point is at 2211.
Pay attention to the buoyed channels when navigating around the southern end of Shinnecock Bay and check LNMs … there are always changes and dredging.
 
East Hampton – Three Mile Harbor
The Devon Yacht Club in East Hampton has a private firework display on Saturday, July 7, 2018, at 2115. The club will extend docking courtesy to reciprocal club members, but for others head to the south side of Gardiners Island, south of Cartwright Island, south of the 6 Buoy and south of 41° 00 and west of 72° 06. That should put you right in front of the yacht club.
NOAA chart is 13209. Three Mile Harbor Entrance tide is high at 1804 on July 7, going low at 0020. Tides in the yacht club dock area should be approximately 20 minutes-or-so earlier.
There will also be a Grucci show shot over Three Mile Harbor on Saturday, July 14, 2018 (clamshellfoundation.org), the Clamshell Foundation’s 38th Annual Great Bonac Fireworks by Grucci show. This is also a fundraiser event for the Clamshell Foundation in which 100 percent of the profits go to East End causes such as college scholarships, food banks and fish seeding programs.
NOAA chart 13209. Three Mile Harbor Entrance tide is low at 1740, going high at 2358 on July 14.
 
Orient Harbor
The Orient Harbor Independence Day show will be shot in Orient Harbor off the Orient Yacht Club on Sunday, June 30, 2018 (www.orientfireworks.com) at 2115. This is a privately funded (a 501(c)3) show, and you can donate at: www.gofundme.com/orientharbor or you can mail your donation to: Orient Harbor July 4th Festivities, PO Box 653, Orient, NY 11957.
Navigate the north channel between Shelter Island and Greenport and when you see the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse head north.
NOAA chart 12358. Low tide at Orient is 1836 on Saturday, June 30, going high at 0041 on July 1.
 
Block Island
You’re not going to Block Island for one night, and that’s just as well since there is a bunch of stuff going on, starting with the annual fireworks show on July 2, 2018, around 2100/dark. The show is launched from the Fred Benson Town Beach Pavilion at Crescent Beach, on the east side of the island, north of where the Point Judith ferries dock. There’s also a parade on July 4, which starts at 1100 at Veterans Park. The theme for 2018 is “Your Favorite Movie.”
Then there’s the All-You-Can-Eat Steak Fry at the Fire Barn on Beach Avenue, which benefits the Block Island Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad. That runs from 1230 to 1530 on July 4 and the food is first come, first served until it runs out. There’s also a hot dog eating contest at the Poor People’s Pub on July 4. Go to www.blockislandinfo.com for more information.
NOAA chart 13215. Low tide at Great Salt Pond is 1641 (Old Harbor is a few minutes earlier) with high at 2343 on July 2.
Note: The Block Island Wind Farm is located three (3) miles southeast of Southeast Point. Marine info is available at dwwind.com/information-for-mariners/biwf/.
 
Montauk
The Montauk Chamber of Commerce’s Independence Day Celebration, Stars Over Montauk, a Grucci show, goes off on Wednesday, July 4, 2018, off Umbrella Beach around 2100 (rain date is July 5).
Since it’s on the ocean side (about a third-mile west on Old Highway), consider staying in Lake Montauk and motoring out and around for the show or grab a cab into town and watch it from there. Go to www.montaukchamber.com/events for additional info or contact the Montauk Chamber of Commerce at 631-668-2428.
 
Freeport
According to the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, the Freeport show will fire off on Thursday, July 5, 2018, at dark. The fireworks should be viewable from the navigable waters of South Oyster Bay near the Guy Lombardo Marina in Freeport.
NOAA chart 12352. Low tide on July 5, 2018, in the Freeport/Baldwin Bay area is at 2047, going high at 0228 on July 6. Know the area or pay close attention to your charts; this requires navigating the Great South Bay labyrinth!
 
New London, CT
Sailfest is scheduled for July 13-15, 2018, with the fireworks show on Saturday, July 14, 2018, around 2100. This is southeastern Connecticut’s premiere summertime event attracting over 300,000 people over the three days. The weekend features amusement rides, free entertainment, Tall Ships, and over 200 vendors lining the downtown streets. Sailfest produces multiple stages of free entertainment with musical genres ranging from rock, Celtic, hip-hop and blues. There’s a free children’s stage located at the City Pier to keep them busy, and the popular Beer Tent at the Custom House Pier to keep others, er, busy. More at sailfest.org/event-schedule.
NOAA charts 12372. Low tides at New London on July 13, 14 and 15 are 1627, 1721 and 1818; evening highs are 2224, 2319 and 0014 (the latter July 16) respectively.
 
Westport, CT
The Westport PAL Independence Day Celebration will be held Monday, July 2, 2018, (rain date: July 5), off Compo Beach, Westport, CT. This is a Grucci national-level show. If you follow the 41° 06.2 from the RW “BH” Mo (A) WHIS buoy out of Port Jefferson (344° and 8 nm out of the RW “PJ” Mo (A) WHIS, you’ll practically run into Compo Beach off your starboard side. As the date gets closer, check out westportpal.org for more information.
NOAA chart 12364. Low tide is 2101 at Cedar Point (CT), on July 2.
 
Bayside
Bayside Historical Society’s Independence Day celebration is scheduled for June 27, 2018, off the Parade Grounds at Fort Totten Park in Bayside. This is southwest of the Throgs Neck Bridge on the northwest tip of Little Neck Bay. If you want to visit the park, the Bayside Marina is the nearest place that offers transient mooring/dockage (718-229-0097; www.baysidehistorical.org/fireworks).
NOAA chart 12364. Low tide in Little Neck Bay on June 27 is 1833, high occurs at 0054 on June 28.
 
Fairfield, CT
Fairfield Independence Day is scheduled for July 2 (rain date of July 3; www.fairfieldct.org/fireworks; 203-256-3144) and will be shot of Fairfield Beach, which is located west of the Black Rock Harbor entrance (where the Port Jefferson Ferry heads into Bridgeport), NNW of Pennfield Reef and Black Rock. The show usually starts around 2115. There is music and entertainment of both Jennings and Penfield Beaches from around 1800 until show time.
NOAA chart 12364. Low tide at Black Rock Harbor is 2153 on July 3, going high at 0355 on July 4.

Wildwood, NJ
Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular will be held July 1, 2018 (and every Friday night, weather permitting), off the Pine Avenue Beach in Wildwood, but visible from almost anywhere on the Wildwoods Boardwalk. Start time is 2200. Rain date is July 5 at 2200 info at 609-523-1602 or www.DOOWW.com. NOAA chart 12316.

Stone Harbor, NJ
Stone Harbor Independence Day Celebration will be shot on July 2, 2018, and feature a Jazz and Blues concert. Show starts at 1930. More Info at 609-368-5102; www.SHNJ.org. Viewable between 80th and 123rd Street beaches. NOAA chart 12316.

Long Branch, NJ
Long Branch’s 28th Annual Oceanfest will take place on July 4, 2018. The festivities start at 1000 and run until 2200 with the fireworks show shooting off at 2100. Info at 732-222-0400; info@longbranchchamber.org; www.oceanfestnj.com. NOAA chart 12316.

Ocean City, NJ
Ocean City’s boardwalk fireworks display will be held July 4, 2018. A kite flying competition starts at 1900, with the fireworks scheduled for 2100. Info at 609-399-6111; OceanCityVacation.com. NOAA Chart 12316.

Sea Isle City, NJ
Sea Isle City’s show will be shot at 2100 on July 4, 2018, off an ocean barge near the 50th Street beach. Info at 609-263-8687; www.visitisicnj.com. NOAA Chart 12316.

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