Safe Boating Week: TWRA aims to prevent accidents on the water

LEXINGTON, Tenn. — National Safe Boating Week is May 21 through May 27 this year, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is participating to bring awareness to safety when you’re out on the water.

Memorial Day kicks off the summer boating season, and officers will be out looking for people that aren’t obeying the rules of the water.

Officers are checking for boat registration, a boating license, the correct amount of life jackets that properly fit each person, as well as a fire extinguisher.

“Just use your common sense on the water,” said Amy Spencer, Outreach and Communications Coordinator for TWRA. “Watch out where you’re going and watch where other people are going, because improper lookout is our leading cause of accidents on the water.”

The worst consequence of not boating safely is a fatality, but boating under the influence can put you in jail.

“It continues to affect you long after you get the initial charge,” Spencer said. “Not only does it affect you as a boat operator, it also affects the the victims and the family if you’re in a fatality. Let’s say you hit another boat and you kill someone — you’re affecting that family for life.”

TWRA reports there is an average of 22 boating-related fatalities in a year here in Tennessee.

“This year, we’ve already reached 10 fatalities and we have not gotten to Memorial Day weekend. That’s actually a little concerning for a lot of us that work for Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, because it’s a higher number than where we usually are at this time,” said Spencer.

There have already been 11 accidents and 10 boating under the influence incidents in 2022.

“Alcohol use is the number one contributing factor in boating fatalities,” said Spencer. “And it’s not just the boating fatalities that we see, we’re also seeing it in swimmer deaths.”

National Safe Boating Week stresses that the single most important action one can take to prevent drowning while boating is to wear a life jacket. Anyone that is 13 and under must have a life jacket on at all times.

“We just want you to have a good time, but we want you to do it safely,” Spencer said.

For more boating safety tips, click here to visit TWRA’s Facebook page.

For more news in the Henderson County area, click here.

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