Community concerned about boater safety ahead of July 4th

OOLTEWAH, Tennessee (WDEF) – A man near Ootlewah is still trying to figure out the identity of the boat driver that rammed into his dock several weeks ago, after posting
surveillance video of the incident.

Now, his neighbors are concerned about boating safety ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

“I wouldn’t let my nephews swim out here on the weekends, because it is so dangerous,” says neighbor Emily Ellis.

Ellis says she’s lived on Long Savannah Creek for nearly four years. During that time, she’s seen and heard of countless instances of reckless drivers on the waterway.

“The boating community does not slow down through here and as you can see there’s only about a hundred yards maybe more between the docks,” she says.

She wants drivers to have fun ahead of the holiday, but wants it to be done safely.

“When you see you’re coming through a neighborhood, slow down,” she tells boat operators.

Ellis and other Ootlewah neighbors who live along Long Savannah Creek say that they’ve  tried calling TWRA time and time again to come monitor the dangerous conditions along the waterway, but to no avail.

“You get a lot of answering machines, you don’t actually get to talk to a person for the most part. We’ve emailed, we don’t really ever get a response,” says Bethani Haynes, another neighbor.

“No Wake buoys out here would be amazing out here but we haven’t had much of a response. We have requested them several times, not only us but several other neighbors,” adds Ellis.

Haynes says the reckless driving from boaters has made her extra cautious with her kids.

“On the weekends we won’t let our kids swim off of the dock because it’s so dangerous,” she says.

Representatives for TWRA weren’t available when we reached out to them
for comment.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News, Ooltewah