New boaters learn safety amid pandemic


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – It’s Labor Day weekend, which is one of the busiest boating holidays for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

A boaters education class was held Saturday at the Farragut Community Center and like many events, amid the pandemic, it came with a few changes.

Wally Lessig, a TWRA boating officer, says the waterways are being used more, due to the pandemic.

“Boaters ed is important because we still have a lot of people out using the water ways. In fact, there is an increased use, increased registration of boats, many more people out on the lakes this time of year,” he said. “And with the pandemic because they’re stuck at home and there’s not a lot of things for folks to do so they’re out using the natural resources around Tennessee.”

Boaters safety classes came with a few new rules this year. Temperatures were checked before anyone could enter the room and masks were required as well.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, boater education classes have been hard to come by. As a result, there’s been an increase in registration.

“I’m teaching six classes this year and all 6 classes have been full. 29 students. We’ll normally have over 50 students per class,” Lessig said.

Even with limited capacity and new rules in place, boaters aren’t letting the pandemic stop them from getting their license and enjoying a safe boating season.

If anyone would like to take the boaters education exam, they are offered at some public libraries. Testing sites are listed on TWRA’s website.

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