KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Last week, the state announced that the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is participating in National Safe Boating Week 2022, which runs from May 21 to May 27. Annual events promote safe navigation along with wearing life jackets as summer sailing begins.
National Safe Boating Week is held every year the week before Memorial Day weekend, often considered the unofficial start to the summer sailing season.
In Tennessee, all boats, including canoes and kayaks, must be equipped with a wearable personal flotation device or PFD for each person on board or for each person to be towed on a water ski, etc. 16 feet or more in length must also be equipped with a Type IV (throwable) PFD on each boat in the event someone falls on board.
According to the state, the TWRA has reported a “significant increase” in traffic on the state’s waterways over the past few years. In fact, so far in 2022, the state says there have been eight deaths statewide — three of them related to boating.
“We see the bad side of it, we see when the day goes wrong,” said TWRA Captain Matt Majors during an educational program. video shared by agency on Twitter. “So the penalties are like they’re on the roadway. A person can be arrested and will be arrested if they are found to be addicted to alcohol or drugs. They may also lose the privileges of operating their boat. They can also be fined against them. But more importantly, if we don’t catch them, before they collide, they can change our lives or others’ lives forever and those are the only things we want to prevent not only through education. but also execution. ”
TWRA speak Alcohol use is a leading contributor to boater deaths.
TWRA also shares safety tips to keep in mind when traveling on water:
- Take a boating safety course. Gain valuable knowledge and experience on the water in a safe sailing course with a wide range of options for beginners to experienced paddlers.
- Checking devices. Schedule a free ship safety check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Force or U.S. Electric Power Squadrons to ensure that all essential equipment is present, functioning and moving and in good condition.
- Plan to float. Always let people ashore know your trip itinerary, including operator and passenger information, boat type and registration, and communications equipment on board.
- Wear a life jacket. Make sure everyone wears life jackets – at all times. A stowed life jacket should not be used in an emergency.
- Use a motor shut-off device. An engine shut-off device, or engine shut-off switch, is a proven safety device that stops a boat’s engine if the operator suddenly falls overboard.
- Check the weather. Always check the forecast before setting off on the water and often during excursions.
- Know what’s going on around you all the time. Nearly a quarter of boating accidents reported in the last year were caused by operator inattention or improper observation.
- Know where you are going and go at a safe speed. Get familiar with the area, the local sailing speed zone and always travel at a safe speed.
- Never sail under the influence. BUI is involved in a third of recreational boating deaths. Always appoint a sober captain.
- Keep contact. There is more than one communication device that works when wet. VHF radios, emergency locator beacons, satellite phones, and cell phones can all be vital pieces of equipment in an emergency.
You can find more information on the TWRA Boating Safety & Regulations on the official website of the organization on the subject.
https://www.wkrn.com/news/tennessee-news/national-safe-boating-week-pushes-off-in-tn-for-2022/ National Safe Boating Week pushes off in TN