KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — May 16-22 marks National Safe Boating Week. The TWRA is reminding boaters to put their safety first, not just this week, but throughout the year.
With a holiday weekend approaching, many will be bringing their boats out for the first time this year. Sergeant Roy Smith with the TWRA says safety begins before you get on the water.
“We encourage people to get out, make sure you have enough life jackets on board your boat for everybody that’s going to be on there. Make sure your safety equipment is working, make sure your fire extinguisher is still functional, check those things before you get on the water, otherwise it’s much more difficult once you’re out there and you find it the hard way.” Smith said.
Because of the holiday weekend, the TWRA says they see more boating traffic this time of year.
“The number one thing we see is operator inattention that causes boating accidents. Folks get out and they get distracted, they get tied up with what they’re doing and they forget about their surroundings and they end up running into something or someone else.” Smith said.
Smith says the TWRA will be increasing patrols this week and through the weekend. One of the things they will be focusing on is making sure that drivers are not consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.
“Avoid alcohol. That’s a big one that we really focus on this time of year especially. A high percentage of our accidents are alcohol related. And then unfortunately folks do lose their lives on our lakes every year, we’ve had 10 fatalities this year already and the vast majority of those fatalities are drownings. So if we can get people to avoid alcohol and wear a life jacket, we could prevent the vast majority of the fatalities we have on the water ways.” Smith said.
Smith adds that laws state children twelve and under must wear a life jacket at all times.