The Fourth of July approaches, and with it the usual holiday invasion of visitors and a weather forecast that finally speaks of summer.

In Gloucester and across Cape Ann, public safety personnel are expecting a massive turnout on land and sea for fireworks, concerts, boating, beach outings, et al, and they urge the public to enjoy themselves — but safely.

"The weather looks great and we anticipate a very busy five days," said Gloucester Harbormaster T.J. Ciarametaro. "Everybody, I think, is champing at the bit to get outside and get on the water. This could be the busiest Fourth of July, or one of the busiest, that we've ever had. It's going to be jamming here."

Ciarametaro said he expects a huge transient boater presence through the weekend, with the city's available visitors moorings booked solid.

"It's going to be that way all over Cape Ann," Ciarametaro said.

The harbormaster staff will be out in full force, with additional crews and patrols on the water on Wednesday and Thursday. The city police boat and the Coast Guard also will be active, Ciarametaro said, in making sure everyone practices safe — and sober — boating.

"People need to make sure they have a designated driver aboard their boat, and if they see something they think is out of the ordinary or a problem, they should say something," he said. "If they see somebody having a hard time and needing assistance, they should lend a hand or call the Harbormaster or Coast Guard."

The harbormaster staff monitors marine radio channels 14 and 16. The Coast Guard also monitors channel 16, which is the international distress frequency.

"We want everyone to have a good, safe Fourth," Ciarametaro said. "We'll be out there if they need anything."

The Coast Guard also is stepping up its efforts to prevent boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. On Thursday, it will initiate Operation Dry Water, with additional crews on the water to enforce regulations for sober boating.

"As a federal law enforcement agency, Coast Guard crews will continue to take action to enforce all federal laws, including those related to the transport, use and personal possession of marijuana," the Coast Guard said in a statement. "Coast Guard crew may conduct boardings on commercial and recreational boats on international, federal and state waterways while on patrol to ensure the safety and security of the boating community." 

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT.

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