NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After a sharp spike in boating deaths, Tennessee emergency officials are working hard to make this summer safer on the water.
Last year, 32 deaths were reported on the water - the most recorded in Tennessee in 37 years. It came after a record low in 2019.
While most of us just call the season "summer," first responders explained why they think of these months as "trauma season."
Sergeant Melissa Rally works for the Office of Emergency Management, specifically with canines trained to track people missing in the water.
"Life jackets are important for anybody whether it's a human or an animal because as you can tell the waters around here are not clear like we have on vacation; so even just a momentary just a minute under the water you can't see your friend or dog to grab them and pull them back up," Rally explained.
In addition to wearing a life jacket, officials urged people not to operate a boat after drinking.
A reminder: anyone born in 1989 or later, must have a boating license to operate a boat.