GRAINGER/HAWKINS COUNTIES, Tenn. (WATE) —  Cherokee Lake expands over several counties in East Tennessee and is one of many waterways where you’ll find people boating, fishing, and swimming in this season.

But unfortunately, there have been several incidents on the water in the last week. So, law enforcement and first responders are warning people to stay safe.

On a bright summer day, the water can be a nice retreat from the summer heat. However, with more people on our East Tennessee lakes and rivers, the likelihood for an incident to occur increases. 

Matt Cameron with TWRA said, “The nature of water it’s a dangerous environment and I think we get complacent sometimes when we get out to enjoy ourselves for a day on the water and we forget maybe to put the lifejacket on or take some safety precaution that could be the difference between life or death out there.”

One man was found dead in the Holston River on Wednesday. Officials say he was not wearing a life jacket.

Cameron said TWRA investigates more boating death cases than they prefer to every year,

“Unfortunately they’re pretty common. We have on average 22 fatal boating incidents every year across the state.” he said.

The TWRA also assists in search efforts with other first responders like the recent one on Cherokee Lake in Hawkins County.

Lt. Corey Young with Hawkins County Rescue Squad said, “An individual had called 911 and reported that earlier they had seen a male subject described being in his 50s, white male with gray hair, they’ve seen him out on a raft earlier and then a short time later they looked out and seen the raft still out in the water but the male subject was nowhere in sight.”

Hawkins County Rescue Squad searched for several hours for the man. No one has yet been found, and they’ve since called off the search. 

Lt Young said, “We’re basically just on a standby mode right now until we receive any more information.”

He mentioned that as of Thursday afternoon, no one has been reported missing in the area. 

Both agencies are asking people to remember water safety both out on a boat and back on shore. 

Cameron said, “If you’re wearing that life jacket even if you do get ejected or you fall overboard there’s a good chance that you’ll survive that accident because you’ll be floating on top and be rescued.”

Young adds, “If you’re planning on going out in the water and you’re going to be alone definitely let somebody know what your plans are and when you plan to return.”

Cameron adds that we’ve already had 15 boating-related deaths here in Tennessee so far this year and we’re only halfway through the boating season. He also mentioned that statistics show when there is a fatal boating accident a lot of times alcohol or drugs are involved.