The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will increase water patrols this weekend as a part of Operation Dry Water.
Operation Dry Water is a national campaign to address impaired boat driving during the July 4th holiday. TWRA Information Specialist Mime Barnes said Fourth of July has the highest boating fatality rate across the United States.
“This is a time that you will see more officers on waterways,” Barnes said. “They are not out to impede fun, but they are out to ensure that all the people of Tennessee enjoying our water ways are safe and protected.”
Barnes said to this date in Tennessee, 13 fatalities related to boating accidents have occurred. The TWRA asks boaters to have a designated driver and wear a life jacket while riding the water ways.
“Please, wear your life jacket. It is one of the number one ways you can keep yourself safe on the water ways,” Barnes said. “Be courteous to others and make sure you have all your safety needs on your boat. Have a look out, and let people know when you are heading out on your boat and when you plan on returning.”
Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee. Penalties may include fines, jail, the impounding of a boat and the loss of boat driving privileges.
The National Association State Boating Law Administrators started Operation Dry Water in 2009. Last year during Operation Dry Water, one boat related fatality was reported at Normandy Lake. Nine boating under the influence (BUI) arrests were made across Tennessee.