Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials remind all those who visit the state’s waterways for the July 4th holiday to be safe for what is annually one of the busiest boating times of the year.
TWRA officials emphasize the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs) while boating in a safe and responsible manner. The TWRA wants all those who visit the waterways to have an enjoyable time. However, TWRA officers will be on the watch for dangerous boating behavior, such as boating under the influence (BUI) and other reckless operation.
TWRA boating officers are coming off their participation in the fourth annual Operation Dry Water weekend. Operation Dry Water is a national weekend of BUI education and enforcement directed toward reducing alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities. Operation Dry Water is held during a weekend prior to the July 4th holiday to give BUI enforcement high visibility.
A total of 135 TWRA officers participated in the 2012 Operation Dry Water, logging more than 1,700 hours. Officers checked close to 2,400 vessels, wrote 180 citations, another 148 warning and made 19 boating under the influence arrests (BUIs).
One boat operator on Chickamauga Lake was arrested for his second BUI offense in three years.
There were no reported fatalities over the weekend and four injury accidents and three property damage accidents. Of the reported boating accidents, two were alcohol related.
TWRA officers were assisted by police departments and sheriff’s departments, conducting saturation patrols and checkpoints across the state.
Through the Operation Dry Water weekend, there have been six fatal boat accidents resulting in eight fatalities. There have been 45 injury accidents and 40 other accidents that have resulted in property damage. TWRA officers have made 87 BUI arrests, up from 51 at the same time last year and two above the numbers following Operation Dry Water in 2010.