TWRA Boating officer Barry Baird knows the amount of traffic on the river during the annual music festival Riverbend. He’s worked the event for several years. Mr. Baird shared a few tips for boaters and paddle craft users who plan on using the river during the festival.
· Wear a life jacket, especially if you’re utilizing a paddle craft. All children 12 years old and under must wear a life jacket. Adults should consider wearing one too. Mr. Baird said, “A life vest located in a stow-away compartment can be almost impossible to reach in an emergency. There are many types of comfortable vests on the market today.”
· Have a lookout. With increased traffic on the water, it is helpful to have help with situational awareness.
· Have a designated operator and never operate any vessel while impaired. Boating under the influence carries a steep fine.
· Watch for debris. With recent heavy rains, officers have noted more debris in Tennessee waterways.
· Utilize proper lighting when operating any vessel at night. Small watercrafts can easily be overlooked on a busy river. Proper lighting will help keep you safe.
Lastly, Mr. Baird said, “Have fun. Recognize we’re out there to help keep you safe, not spoil your good time. We look forward to seeing you on the water.”
Find out more about safe boating operation at tnwildlife.org.