National Safe Boating Week raises awareness ahead of WJHL holiday weekend
HAMPTON, Tennessee (WJHL) – National Safe Boating Week runs May 22-28. It begins each year on the weekend before Memorial Day weekend.
Boating and boating safety experts want you to know how to stay safe while enjoying our lakes and rivers.
“Make sure you always wear a properly fitted and sized life jacket; make sure you wear it – it only works when it’s on, ”said Collins Jones, a Johnson County TWRA wildlife officer.
“At least have it accessible, which means it doesn’t have to be stored somewhere you can’t get it; because if you’ve ever tried putting on a PFD while your boat capsizes while you’re floating in the water, it’s not easy to do, ”said Scott Fisher, owner of the Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute.
In 2020, as people eager to find safe ways out of their homes, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reported a significant increase in traffic on the state’s lakes and rivers. Sadly, that came with 32 boating-related fatalities, a record.
Already in 2021, the TWRA reported seven fatalities on the waterways it patrols.
They advise you to use caution if you choose to drink.
“Have a designated driver, just like you would in a car,” Jones said. “Drinking on water is different from drinking on land; there are the lake conditions, the waves, the roar of the engine – it all adds up; it can make it look like you’ve been drinking more than you actually have.
These rules don’t just apply to larger, motor boats. You should also practice water safety while using smaller, self-contained boats like kayaks and canoes.
“Some of those $ 200 boats can be bought at big box stores; that’s fine, but make sure it’s suitable for the water you’re on, ”Fisher said.
“We’re small and these powerboats are fast and big,” said Debbie Briscoe of the Nolichucky Outdoor Living Institute. “Don’t expect them to get out of your way, you have to be responsible and stay out of their way.”
Education makes a huge difference.
“Get directions; learn the right way, then pass it on to your friends and family, to maximize the fun; it maximizes everyone’s safety, ”said Fisher.
“If you are in the lake and you are traveling from point A to point B, stay together in a group, safety in numbers, and try to always have your head on a pivot and look around and be aware of your surroundings. at any time, ”said Briscoe.