KNOXVILLE (WATE) – This Memorial Day weekend, a lot of boaters will swarm the lakes and rivers around East Tennessee. The forecast looks fantastic this weekend, but before you venture out on the water, remember that safety is your number one priority.
Enjoying what East Tennessee has to offer this time of year is easy to do, and some of you might put safety on the back burner which is not a good idea.
Jeff Roberson with TWRA says there is one simple step you can take to make your day on the lake a safe one.
“To wear your life jacket at all time. The state law requires children under the age of 12 to wear them at all times, but we prefer if everyone would wear there life jacket,” he said.
There are a few additional steps that you can take to make sure your day doesn’t make a turn for the worst.
Wearing your safety vest, having a good look out, and having a designated driver are ways to keep you safe,” said Roberson.
If this is your first time using your boat this season, it is a good idea to do a routine check up.
“Before you get to the lake, make sure you have all your safety equipment. Such as, your fire extinguisher and your flotation devices and if you are going to be out at night, verify that your navigation lights work before it gets dark.”
TWRA is there for your protection, but they are prepared to write citations.
“We look for BUI’s every time we are out on the water, if you are born before January 1, 1989, you need to have a boating license,” Roberson said.
Accidents do happen, but Roberson is optimistic about this weekend.
“A safe weekend with preferably no accidents, no fatalities and no injuries.”
TWRA will be fully staffed this weekend and will monitor the water ways to keep your family safe.
What are the rules for life jackets in Tennessee?
All boats, including canoes and kayaks, must be equipped with one wearable Personal Floatation Device (life jacket) for each person on board or for each person being towed on water skis, etc.
Boats 16 feet in length or over (except canoes and kayaks) must also be equipped with one Type IV (throwable) Personal Flotation Device in case someone falls overboard. All children 12 years of age and younger are required to wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket while on the open deck of a recreational boat except when anchored, moored, or aground.
or more information visit FTWRA’s website.