TWRA warns of boater safety

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Even though boating season is just starting to get underway, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency has already seen some accidents, according to TWRA officer Jeff Webb.

“Some of the common causes of boating accidents are people who are not paying attention while they’re operating their vessel,” said Webb. “A lot of things are just pure ignorance. People who are not obeying  the rules of the road while they are out on the water ways.”

Webb says some of the biggest rules are what boaters need to have on board.

“Some of that required equipment would be a wearable life jacket for each person that’s on board the vessel,” said Webb. “They also need to make sure they have type B marine grade fire extinguisher and if their boat is 16 feet or longer they are required to carry a throw-able device that is US Coast Guard approved.”

He says the biggest problems TWRA  sees come from alcohol.

“One of the biggest things we see year after year is not having a designated operator on board their vessel while they are out there consuming alcohol,” said Webb. “Alcohol and the water ways simply do not mix.”

Holly Young and her family spent Mother’s Day on the water. She says she is extra cautious now that she has her baby on board.

“If we come back in the evening we worry about other boaters flying by us,” said Young. “So, we go crazy slow and we always hold him. He’s always in my arms wearing a life jacket.”

Webb says other things to watch out for are debris, other boats and swimmers.

For more information on boating visit the TWRA website.