TWRA promotes boater safety before Independence Day

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Independence Day holiday is a big time for boating around East Tennessee. However, already this year, there have been several accidents on the water. A Farragut High School teen fell off a boat in May and drowned in Fort Loudoun Lake just days before he was set to graduate.

Last month, a boat crashed into a dock. Three people in the boat that crashed suffered minor injuries. One of them was charged with boating under the influence.

The day before the holiday, families coasted on the water at Fort Loudoun Lake. For Kim Blake, it was the definition of a fun day.

“My husband loves being on the water. It’s just nice and relaxing,” said Blake.

Related: THP, TWRA to patrol for drunk drivers, boaters on July 4 weekend

To make sure the fun continued, Jeff Roberson with TWRA also got on a boat.

“Right now, we are just on normal patrol. We are looking for safety violations or maybe registration violations,” said Roberson.

That violation stop could lead to a boating under the influence arrest. Roberson was a part of three this past weekend in East Tennessee. The patrolling made boaters feel safer this holiday weekend.

“I feel good about it to be honest with you. I’m glad they are out there,” Blake said.

Others were glad after seeing boaters driving recklessly in the past. That is something TWRA looks out for too. This year, TWRA has seen seven fatalities statewide so far. In 2016, they saw 13.

TWRA also urged people to wear a personal flotation device while out on the water. Rogerson said 70 percent of deaths on the water in Tennessee are drownings.

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