Officials Urge Boating Safety Labor Day Weekend

Posted at 10:18 PM, Sep 02, 2018

Twenty-two boating-related deaths have occurred on Tennessee waters this year.

There are some ways you can protect yourself and the people you love while having a good time out on the water. 

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials are urging lake-goers to wear life jackets.

"When you come out here, wear that life jacket on your boat at all times. That’s going to be you’re number one way to go home," District Boating officer Josh Landrum said.

Landrum said children 12 years old and younger must wear life jackets. He and other TWRA officials encourage folks to have fun on the lake but know their limits.

"If you’re out here and you’re drinking and driving, make sure you have a designated driver and you’re going to go out safe if you do that" he said.

Some consider Labor Day weekend to be the unofficial end to motorboat season, but sailboat season is racing up close behind.

Richard Lewis, age 74, is the social director at Hamilton Creek Marina & Percy Priest Yacht Club.

Lewis started sailing as a boy on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. 

"The winds blow pretty good September, October, November, December, January, February, March, and April," he said.

The retired Vietnam veteran has nearly 50 years of sailing experience. 

"If you’re on the boat and you see someone overboard, you should point and stand and leave your hand on that person with whichever way the boat goes and where the captain of that vessel can direct the vessel back to pick up the person that’s overboard," he said.

New boating laws took effect this year --- if you see blue lights while you are on the water, you need to slow down if you are within 100 feet of a TWRA vessel. Also, boat renters are required to have a boat license. In the past, you could take a quick safety course on site before renting a boat.