KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is urging boaters to be safe ahead of memorial day weekend following the death of a Farragut High School student on May 17.
“We definitely want them to have a good time but do it safely,” said Captain Tony Chamberlain with KCSO. “If the boat is stopped and your anchored, jump off the boat, have a good time. If the boat is underway or the boat is moving, you need to be in the boat and in a seat and wear your life vest.”
Witnesses of Wednesday’s drowning say 18-year-old Joshua Davis was not wearing a life vest but had one in his hand when he fell out of the boat.
Tennessee law states kids 12-years-old and younger are required to wear life vests in the boat. Those 13-years-old and older are not required but the boat must have a PFD on board for every passenger.
“If something happens, the unforeseen happens, if the life jackets under the seat it’s not going to do you a whole lot of good,” said Chamberlain. “The best thing we can suggest to people is to wear their life jackets all the time.”
Life jackets are not the only life-saving tool boaters need to have while enjoying their day.
“If you are going to partake in alcohol while you’re on the lake, make sure you have a designated driver for your vessel,” said Chamberlain. “The last thing we want to happen is for someone to get out drinking and them or somebody that they are with get hurt.”
A concern Mike Curcio has every time he’s on his boat.
“There are a lot of things going on,” said Curcio. “People are texting and driving sometimes people are drinking and driving on the water. You have to be aware of everything around you.”