NASHVILLE --- 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
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. There were six
reported accidents, two of which resulted in injuries.
TWRA officers made 13 boating under the influence (BUI)
arrests over the weekend. Officers also issued 14
reckless/negligent operation citations.
There have been seven boating-related fatalities from five
accidents thus far in 2012 in Tennessee. There were also
seven fatalities at this time last year.
TWRA officers have worked 31 reportable boating accidents
in 2012. Officers have also made 20 BUI arrests.
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
*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
*any boat operator born after January 1, 1989 must have
onboard the TWRA-issued wallet Boating Safety Education
*keep alcohol to a minimum-choose a designated boat
*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