State Senate Approves “Noah Dean And Nate Act” To Prevent Electric Shock Injuries And Drowning Deaths On Tennessee Waters

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Legislation which aims to prevent electric shock injuries and drowning deaths near marinas and boat docks in Tennessee has received final approval in the State Senate with all members signing on the bill sponsored by Senator Steve Southerland (R-Morristown). The “Noah Dean and Nate Act” requires marinas to install ground fault protection, post notices about the danger of electrical leakage into waters surrounding a marina, and requires annual inspections by the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s office to ensure ground fault safety in the future.

The bill is named in memory of 10-year-old Noah Dean Winstead and 11-year-old Nate Lynam who died from electrical injuries they suffered on July 4, 2012, while swimming near a houseboat at a marina near Morristown, Tn.  Since that time, their parents have worked to pass legislation to help ensure such a tragedy does not occur again.

“No parent should have to suffer this kind of tragedy,” said Senator Southerland.  “This legislation implements safety measures to help ensure that the waters in and around boat docks and marinas are safe and that notices are posted to help protect the public.”

Details of the Senate Bill 1954 include:

·       Effective April 1, 2015, any main overcurrent protective device, installed or replaced, that feeds a marina must have a ground-fault protection not exceeding 100 milliamperes (mA); 

·       Between Jan. 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2017 and every five years thereafter, a safety inspection must be made by the state fire marshal;

·       If a deficiency is found, the subsequent follow-up inspection required for repairs must be conducted by a commissioned deputy electrical inspector;

·       Permanent safety signage must be installed within 80 feet to give notice to persons using the boat dock or marina or swimming area near the boat dock or marina, of the electric shock hazard risks;

·       The bill prescribes penalties for violation of the proposed act which range from a Class A misdemeanor for violation of the ground-fault protection requirement when it does not result in bodily injury to a Class E felony if failure to adhere to the law results in death; and

·       If any boat dock or marina operator who is found guilty under this law fails to comply with the requirements within 90 days of the judgment, the state fire marshal will declare the boat dock or marina to be a threat to public safety and order its closure until it is in compliance.     

“I applaud the courage of the parents of  Noah Dean and Nate in working toward passage of this legislation,” said Senator Southerland.  “It is a tremendous public safety bill that will help prevent serious electric shock injuries and drowning deaths in Tennessee.”

The bill is pending consideration in the House of Representatives.


TFWC Updated On Chronic Wasting Disease, Boating Statistics, Endangered Species, And Budget Process

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission heard updates on chronic wasting disease (CWD), Tennessee’s In Need of Management, Threatened, and Endangered Wildlife Listing, boating statistics, and budget process during its July meeting. The two-day session concluded Friday and was held at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region II Ray Bell Building. Chuck Yoest, assistant ... (click for more)

Bike Chattanooga Celebrates 5 Years Of Bike Share

The City of Chattanooga’s Bike Chattanooga Bicycle Transit System invites the public to help celebrate its fifth year of operations in the Scenic City with a celebratory bike ride next Wednesday starting at 5:30 p.m. from the Wheland Foundry Riverpark Trailhead to their 6-7 p.m celebration at the Blue Goose Hollow Riverpark Trailhead.   "The community is invited to join ... (click for more)

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson Booked At County Jail; Says He Is Not Guilty

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson was booked at the Bradley County Jail Friday morning. He faces six separate charges of altering/falsifying/forging a title plate assignment. Sheriff Watson, a former state legislator, posted a $30,000 bond. He issued this statement, "For more than a year, I have confronted numerous accusations from some who desire to have more control ... (click for more)

County School Board Members, Rep. Favors Rap State Take-Over Plans For Low Performing Schools; New Superintendent To Come Up With Community Plan

County School Board members at a Thursday work session took turns rapping a state take-over plan for low performing schools. New Supt. Bryan Johnson said he will work over the next 30-45 days to come up with a community proposal for strengthening the iZone schools. He said, "I'm not sold myself" on some of the aspects of a proposed state partnership with the school district. ... (click for more)

Do Something To Protect Our Children

It is unconscionable in this day and age that these children had to exist in such deplorable conditions and that an innocent baby suffered and died alone in a locked car.  Yes, there is blame and accountability considering this family had child neglect charges filed a few years ago (that were apparently dropped and expunged) and a large part of the responsibility should ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: School Board Shoves Back

The Hamilton County School Board, told that ‘no’ was not an option three months ago when state Education Commissioner Candice McQueen arrived to take over five floundering public schools, may have to ask the Governor to call out the Tennessee Guard. A very vocal School Board shoved a bitter ultimatum right back into McQueen’s lap during a work session Thursday night and showed it ... (click for more)