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Annual Guide to 4th of July Fireworks... By Boat!

May 26, 2019

The Fourth of July falls on Thursday in 2019. Accuweather is predicting a mostly cloudy, and not-unduly-warm July, with the fourth mostly cloudy and bracketed by possible thunderstorms. Darksky.net - a favorite of this writer - is predicting a partly cloudy day with mid-to high-70s and little wind and no rain. 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 10). 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. And make sure you have the right PFDs for all onboard.

• If you’re bringing a first time boater 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 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 — electronically or otherwise — do so. Sunset for most of the dates is around 2030-ish.

Jones Beach
The Sterling National Bank July 4th Fireworks at Jones Beach State Park will be held on Thursday, July 4, 2019, scheduled to start at 2130, and shot by Garden State Fireworks, 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. Patriotic music will be simulcast on WALK 97.5 or K-98.3 FM.
NOAA Chart 12326. High tide at Jones Inlet (Pt. Lookout) is 2140 on July 4, 2019, going low at 0421 on July 5. Low tide at Biltmore Shores in South Oyster Bay is 1829 on July 4, 2019, going high at 0004 on July 5.
Previously (too early for the LNMs as we went to press), to accommodate the 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 without a bridge opening may do so at all times. Mariners are advised to plan their transits accordingly.

Macy’s 4th of July
The 43rd Annual Macy’s Fourth of July show will be held on Thursday, July 4, 2019, and will be launching from the Brooklyn Bridge this year; the last time it was on the east side was in 2014.
Launch schedule is the usual — 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 seven barges between 24th and 42nd Street 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 in 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 1621 on July 4, 2019, going high at 2242.
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, July 6, 2019 (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 July 6, 2019, is at 2022, going high at the 0226 on July 7.

The only thing we could confirm at press time was that the fireworks on the Peconic River Waterfront in Riverhead will be shot on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. 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 — as was last year’s — will be combined with the Alive on 25 event, 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 of the Peconic River just east of the Atlantis Aquarium and off Treasure Cove Resort Marina (the latter may have transient dockage available).
NOAA Chart 12358. Tides for South Jamesport correspond with the Peconic River times minus about a half-hour. Low tide at South Jamesport on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, is 1928, going high at 0119 on July 4. Vertical clearance on the Route 105 Bridge is 25 feet.

Shelter Island
Shelter Island’s Chamber of Commerce 62nd version of this Grucci-fired show is scheduled for Saturday, July 13, 2019 (rain date July 14).
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 2052 on July 13, 2019, going low at 0325 on

July 14.
Connetequot River – Oakdale
The Grucci folks are shooting this sponsor-driven show on July 3, 2019. Last year’s site was about 1000-feet east of the Snapper Inn in Oakdale. Best place to view it would be in the Connetquot River mouth/Nicoll Bay, behind Timber Point/Nicoll Island. It can be pretty shoal there, however. Docking might be available on a first come, first serve basis if you’re dining at the Snapper Inn. More info at www.connetquotriver fireworks.com.
NOAA chart 12326. Low tide for Great River/Connetequot River is 1838 on July 3, 2019, going high at 0028 on July 4.

The 31st Southampton Fresh Air Home’s Annual American Picnic with Fireworks by Grucci is scheduled for Friday, July 5, 2019 (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 tickets on the grounds start at $150 for children and $300 for adults, with a table of 10 going for $2000 (and more). To purchase tickets go to: www.sfah.org.
NOAA chart is 12352. On July 5, 2019, low tide is at 1652, going high at Ponquogue Point at 2249.
Pay attention to the buoyed channels when navigating around the southern end of Shinnecock Bay and check LNMs … things are always changing and there’s usually dredging going on somewhere.

East Hampton – 2 for Three Mile Harbor
The Devon Yacht Club in East Hampton has a private fireworks display on Saturday, July 6, 2019, 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 off Gardiner’s Bay tide is low at 1953 on July 6, 2019, going high at 0205 on July 7. 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 13, 2019, (clamshellfoundation.org), the Clamshell Foundation’s 39th 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. If you’re into it, there’s also a Sandcastle Contest on August 10, 2019.
NOAA chart 13209. On July 13, 2019, the Three Mile Harbor Entrance tide is high at 2026,

going low at 0255 on July 14.

Orient Harbor
The Orient Harbor Independence Day show will be shot in Orient Harbor off the Orient Yacht Club on Sunday, July 6, 2019 (www.orientfireworks.com) at 2115. This is a privately funded (a 501(c)3) show, and you can donate at: 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 Wednesday, July 3, 2019, 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. There’s always a whole bunch more going on through the weekend. Check out blockislandchamber.com for all the up-to-date info.
NOAA chart 13215. High tide on July 3, 2019, at Great Salt Pond is 2114 (Old Harbor is a few minutes earlier) with low at 0329 on July 4.
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/. The entrance to the Great Salt Pond Breakwater Light is a Mariner Radio Activated Sound Signal (MRASS) activated on VHF-83A.

The Montauk Chamber of Commerce’s Independence Day Celebration, Stars Over Montauk, a Grucci show, goes off on Thursday, July 4, 2019, 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.

The Freeport show will fire off on Saturday, July 6, 2019, at dark. The fireworks should be viewable from the navigable waters of South Oyster Bay near the Guy Lombardo Marina in Freeport. There are activities planned land-side throughout the day.
NOAA chart is 12352. Low tide on July 6, 2019, in the Freeport/Baldwin Bay area is at 1837, going high at 0030 on July 7. Know the area, or pay close attention to your charts; this requires navigating the Hempstead Bay labyrinth!

New London, CT
Sailfest is scheduled for July 12-14, 2019, with the fireworks show by Garden State Fireworks on Saturday, July 13, 2019, 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 to rock, Celtic, hip hop and blues. There’s the popular Beer Tent at the Custom House Pier to keep adults, er, busy. More at sailfest.org/event-schedule.
NOAA charts 12372. High tide at New London on July 13, 2019, is 1947.

Westport, CT
The Westport PAL (Police Athletic League) Independence Day Celebration will be held Wednesday, July 3, 2019, (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 1848 at Cedar Point (CT), on July 3, 2019, going high at 0037

on July 4.

Bayside Historical Society’s Independence Day celebration — A Grucci shoot — is scheduled for Wednesday, June 26, 2019, off the Parade Grounds at Fort Totten Park in Bayside around 2115. 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. High tide in Little Neck Bay on June 26 is 1926, low is around 0200 on June 27.

Fairfield, CT
Fairfield Independence Day is scheduled for Wednesday, July 3, 2019. It will be shot off a barge off 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. For more info: www.fairfieldct.org/fireworks; 203-256-3144.
NOAA chart 12364. Low tide at Black Rock Harbor is 1837 on July 3, going high at 0044 on

July 4.

Coney Island
It’s just another Friday at Coney Island, since fireworks are held every Friday night (weather permitting) from June 21, 2019, to August 30, 2019. The Garden State Fireworks show is shot from between West 10th Street and West 15th Street by the Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk area.

New Jersey Shows:
Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular will be held July 4, 2019 (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. Info at 609-523-1602 or www.DOOWW.com. NOAA chart 12316.

Long Branch
Long Branch’s 29th Annual Oceanfest will take place on July 4, 2019. The festivities start at 1000 and run until 2200 with the fireworks show shooting off at 2100. Made possivlke by sponsorships and donations. Info at 732-222-0400; info@longbranchchamber.org; www.oceanfestnj.com. NOAA chart 12316.

Ocean City’s boardwalk fireworks display will be held July 4, 2019. Kite flying competition at 1900 followed by entertainment on the beach next to the Music Pier. A spectacular boardwalk fireworks display tops off the evening at 2100. For more information call 609-399-6111. NOAA Chart 12316.

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