BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee’s above-average number of boating deaths contributed to a new safety measure that is aimed to slow down boat traffic.

“Generally speaking we see about 22 fatal boating accidents every year across the state. I think we had 29 last year. So we were well above average,” said Matt Cameron with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

We approached boating season and Thursday’s weather had some people already out on the water at places like Douglas and Fort Loudoun Lakes.

Last year, there were reported deaths and serious injuries on Fort Loudoun Lake near the Alcoa Highway Bridge and the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge.

“A lot of boats are coming around a couple different bends right there and then you got all these bridge pilings and there are unfortunately some people crashing into the pilings or visibility is kind of obstructed as you come through that area and you’re not able to see other boats coming at you,” Cameron said.

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission voted back in December to create a “No Wake” zone in that area, forcing people to slow down and be more cautious. Now, it is in effect at the Little River arm of the Fort Loudoun Reservoir near the two bridges.

“A ‘No Wake’ zone is an area where a boat has to operate at idle speed or below a speed to where the waves or the wake coming from the boat is not sufficient to cause damage or injury to another person, to another boat, or to someone else’s property,” Cameron said.

There are buoys in the area that designate the new zone and you can be fined for not following the rules, according to Cameron.

He adds that as boaters begin to enjoy our Tennessee waterways for the season, safety should be top of mind.

“Here we are in April, the weather is beautiful and we’ve already seen several serious injuries and fatal accidents across the state of Tennessee. So, as the weather gets nicer, and people want to get out on the water and enjoy it, we just encourage you to be vigilant.”

The TWRA says they will have extra officers out in that area patrolling just making sure people remember to slow down.

It is also prohibited to tow a person on water skis, surfboards, inner tubes or similar devices behind your boat in a “No Wake” zone.