Memorial Day weekend is this weekend and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency emphasizes the use of life jackets and boating in a safe and responsible manner.
Memorial Day weekend is regarded as the unofficial start of summer and is one of the year’s busiest boating weekends. Last year, for the fourth consecutive year, no boating-related fatalities were recorded over the holiday weekend.
Along with the use of life jackets, TWRA stresses the responsible use of alcohol while boating. In a boat on the water, the effects of alcohol increase because of external stressors such as engine vibration, wave motion and sun glare. Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Tennessee.
TWRA officials say taking a few minutes to check some of the boat components may be the key to having a nice, safe outing. A simple maintenance check before getting underway may prevent problems. Check hoses to make sure they are in good shape. Make sure your lights work and be sure to carry extra fuses and bulbs.
In addition, TWRA urges all boaters to remember the basics:
- Have a wearable life jacket for every person onboard
- If your boat is 16 feet or longer, there must be a Type IV throwable device onboard
- Have onboard a working fire extinguisher if you have enclosed fuel compartments or cabins
- Children age 12 and younger must wear a life jacket at all times while the boat is underway – drifting is considered underway
- Any boat operator born after January 1, 1989 must have onboard the TWRA-issued wallet Boating Safety Education Certificate
- Choose a designated boat operator
- Make sure there is a current boat registration
Boat Operation Basics:
- Keep a proper lookout at all times
- Maintain a safe speed
- Cut the engine while boarding from the water or entering the water from the boat
- Be aware of the carbon monoxide hazards that exist and keep fresh air flowing
- “No wake” means idle speed
TWRA offers a variety of boating safety courses – log onto www.tnwildlife.org for information.