2014 Boating Season Kicks Off With Memorial Day Holiday Weekend

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Memorial Day holiday weekend is regarded as the unofficial start to the summer boating season and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wants to emphasize the use of life jackets while boating in a safe and responsible manner.

Annually, the Memorial Day weekend is one of the year’s busiest boating weekends. Last year over the holiday weekend, there were no boating fatalities for the third consecutive year.

There were eight total reported boating accidents for the second straight year in 2013. Three of the accidents resulted in injuries and the other five were property damage accidents.

TWRA officers made 11 boating under the influence (BUI) statewide arrests last year. The BUI arrests were a decrease of 11 from 2012 Memorial Day weekend.

In 2014, there have been six boating-related fatalities, 10 serious injury accidents, and 13 property damage incidents in Tennessee. There were nine fatalities at this time last year.

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 under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Tennessee.

For many Tennesseans, the Memorial Day weekend will be the first time to have the boat on the water this year.

TWRA officials say taking a few minutes to check some of the boat components may be the key to having a nice, safe day. Merely performing a simple maintenance check before getting on the water may prevent problems. Check hoses to make sure they are in good shape. Check spark plugs and be sure to use UL marine grade plugs.  Make sure the lights work and carry extra fuses and bulbs.

In addition, TWRA urges all boaters to remember the basics:

*have a wearable life jacket for every person onboard

*if your boat is 16 feet or longer, there must be a Type IV throwable device onboard

*have onboard a fire extinguisher if you have enclosed fuel compartments or cabins

*anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket at all times while the boat is underway – drifting is considered underway

*any boat operator born after Jan. 1, 1989, must have onboard the TWRA-issued wallet Boating Safety Education Certificate

*keep alcohol to a minimum–choose a designated boat operator

*make sure there is a current boat registration

Boat Operation Basics:

*keep a proper lookout at all times

*maintain a safe speed

*practice good seasmanship

*cut the engine while boarding from the water or entering the water from the boat

*be aware of the carbon monoxide hazards that exist and keep fresh air flowing

*no wake means idle speed

*take a boating safety course – log onto www.tnwildlife.org for information.


Marion County Now Buffer Regulated For Thousand Cankers Disease

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture on Friday announced the discovery of Walnut Twig Beetles, which transmit Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), a walnut tree killing disease in Marion County. The county is now buffer regulated. Citizens in buffer counties can move walnut tree products and hardwood firewood within buffer counties, but not outside. Products can also be moved into ... (click for more)

Tennessee's 2014-15 Gun Season For Deer Starts Nov. 22

Tennessee’s gun season for deer an annual opening on the Saturday before Thanksgiving which this year falls on Nov. 22, for 2014-15. For the fourth year, sportsmen will find one continuous season that will continue through Jan. 4, 2015. The continuous season replaced the previously two segmented hunting seasons that were in place prior to 2011. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources ... (click for more)

Kiser Takes Witness Stand For First Time; Says He Did Not Kill Deputy Donald Bond

Marlon Duane Kiser took the witness stand at his post-conviction hearing on Tuesday to declare that he did not kill Deputy Donald Bond, who was gunned down at a produce stand in East Brainerd 13 years ago. Kiser had not opted to go on the stand when he was convicted by a Nashville jury and given the death penalty in 2003. He said he believes it was Mike Chattin, the man he ... (click for more)

Courtney Godwin, 25, Was Victim In Monday Night Fire In Hixson

Chattanooga firefighters battled a fully-involved structure fire in Hixson Monday night, and the incident involved at least one fatality.  Dr. Steve Cogswell with the Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as Courtney D. Godwin, 25. Dr. Cogswell said Ms. Godwin died from smoke inhalation.   The first call to 911 Communications was received ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Faculty Has No Business Being Involved In Hiring Decisions

This letter will hopefully bring some clarity to the recent situation created by the faculty of Chattanooga State Community College. It is based upon my tenure as a member of the faculty at Chattanooga State Technical Institute, the transformation to Chattanooga State Community College, and my service as the financial and administrative officer at Chattanooga State until my retirement ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Thanksgiving Conversations

I am not predicting this will happen but I have known it to occur – in the middle of the Thanksgiving feast there will come a lull in the conversation and you can save the day if you’ll immediately look at the person to your right and ask, “What is the smartest thing you ever heard somebody say?” It is an easy thing, because we all love wisdom, and the ploy comes to mind because ... (click for more)