Traditionally, Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of the boating season in Tennessee. For many, this will be the first time to have the boat in the water. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) urges all Tennessee boaters to take a few extra minutes to review the basics, which may be the key to having a fun, safe day on the water.
TWRA wants to remind all boaters to:
- Keep drinking to a minimum. Choose a designated boat operator.
- Keep a sharp lookout at all times. Watch out for the other boater.
- Make sure there are enough life jackets onboard for each person on the boat. All children under 13 years old must wear their life jacket at all times while in a boat underway.
- Do not overload your boat – capsizing is the most common accident involving fatalities.
- Cut your engines off when someone is getting in or out of your boat.
- Make sure your fire extinguisher is fully charged and ready to work.
- Make sure your lights work before it gets dark. It’s a good idea to carry extra bulbs and fuses.
- Stay alert – know what’s going on around you – learn the rules of the road.
Along with the use of life jackets, TWRA wants to stress the responsible use of alcohol while boating. It is important to consider the effects of drinking and driving whether on water or land. In a boat on the water, the effects of alcohol increase because of external stressors such as engine vibration, wave motion and glare from the sun. Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle.
If you are interested in the free home-study boater safety course, please call 615 781-6682 for details and/or contact your local TWRA Region 3 Office at 800 262-6704 or 931 484-9571.
For all information about safe boating in Tennessee, log on to www.tnwildlife.org.