Boating Season Is Underway. TWRA Wants To Make Sure You Know The Safety Rules.

Fourteen people lost their lives in boating accidents in Tennessee last year–and many of them could have been prevented according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
The agency wants to reinforce safety rules for this holiday weekend–and officers were at Harrison Bay State Park are at Chickamauga Lake.

When Wildlife Resources officer Brandon Lee says wearing a life vest while boating can save your life, he knows what he’s talking about.

OFF. BRANDON LEE, TWRA “In 2013 we had a boating accident involving our employees, I was actually on board a boat that actually capsized ..and it was due to hitting a piece of firewood.” “We had not had time to get our life jackets out of the storage compartment, if we hadn’t had them on, it would have been a different story.”

Brandon Lee and other TWRA boating officers were on Chickamauga lake in preparation for the recognized start of the 2016 boating season.
Safety is the number one goal and there are some specific rules you’ll need to follow. For instance, anybody born after Jan 1st 1989 must have the Boating Safety Course before they can operate a watercraft on Tennessee’s lakes and waterways.

OFFICER BRANDON LEE, TWRA “That is to not only teach operators how to kind on launch your boat, how to load your boat, but it teaches about possibilities of carbon monoxide poisoning ..it teaches the dangers of the water…teaches how to read the weather trends and as of 2001 that’s required.”

Boat owners must have registration papers and make sure everyone has a life vest—children 12 years old and under have to have a life-jacket on at all times.
One question the officers get a lot, is about drinking.

OFF. BRANDON LEE “it’s not necessarily against the law to drink on a boat, we do not advice people to drink and boat . However, if you’re going to be drinking on a boat we ask that you have a designated driver.” “Like on the road, it’s also against the law to be behind the wheel of a boat …under the influence of alcohol.”

Another safety rule is to have a lookout.

OFFICER BARRY BAIRD, TWRA “You have to remember you have to keep a proper lookout and just because you are, doesn’t mean that they are.”

So, have a nice, and safe summer on the water.
You can get more boating safety information and new boaters can sign up for their boating safety class at “tnwildlife.org”.

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