Monday, June 27, 2022
Happening Now

TWRA Enforcing Boat Safety for Memorial Day Weekend

Wildlife officers will be out in full force as boaters take to the Upper Cumberland waters this Memorial Day Weekend.

Míme Barnes is the Wildlife Information Specialist with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

“Our goal is never to stop people from having fun,” Barnes said. “Our goal is to keep people safe while they’re having fun.”

Barnes reminds boaters to stay safe when on the water, from checking the condition of the boat to wearing life jackets. Nearly one-third of all 2016 boating fatalities occurred with victims falling overboard, according to the TWRA.

“Make sure the boat is in great working order and has all the proper safety gear before heading on the water,” Barnes said. “And always have your personal floatation device. Anyone 12 and under needs to be wearing that.”

Barnes said having a lookout is helpful when boating. According to the TWRA, more incidents were caused by improper lookout than any other type in 2016.

“Regardless of speed, just always have someone watching out,” Barnes said. “It’s always helpful to have other eyes.”

Barnes emphasized the importance of having a designated driver if people do decide to drink while boating. Three boating fatalities occurred in 2016 due to alcohol impairment, according to the TWRA.

“Never operate a boat under the influence of alcohol,” Barnes said. “Very similar to a car, it is very dangerous to operate anything under the influence, and illegal.”

Eight of the 132 boating incidents reported to TWRA in 2016 occurred in the Upper Cumberland, including five in DeKalb County.