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MEMORIAL HOLIDAY WEEKEND KICKS OFF SUMMER SEASON
There’s been a parade boats heading toward Reelfoot Lake as the big
weekend arrives with a nice weather forecast and the news that good
fishing awaits them.
No doubt the lake will be covered up the next few days as a wide variety
of folks flock to the waterways. If you plan on being one of them better
make sure you have all your stuff in order. From your boat registration
to an updated fishing license, running lights, life jackets and more;
wise are the occupants who adhere to a checklist before hitting the
water. Odds are you’ll be checked during the holiday period as wildlife
and boating officers will be out in force.
Memorial Day holiday weekend is regarded as the unofficial start to the
summer boating season and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wants
to emphasize the use of life jackets while boating in a safe and
Here’s a few tips from TWRA:
Annually, the Memorial Day weekend is one of the year’s busiest boating
weekends. Last year over the holiday weekend, there were no boating
fatalities for the second consecutive year. There were six reported
accidents, two of which resulted in injuries.
TWRA officers made 22 boating under the influence (BUI) arrests over the
weekend, an increase of nine from 2011. Officers also issued 12
reckless/negligent operation citations.
In 2013, there have been nine boating-related fatalities in Tennessee.
There were seven fatalities at this time last year.
Along with the use of life jackets, TWRA wants to stress the responsible
use of alcohol while boating. It is important to consider the effects of
drinking and driving whether on water or land. In a boat on the water,
the effects of alcohol increase because of external stressors such as
engine vibration, wave motion and glare from the sun. Operating a boat
under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Tennessee.
For many Tennesseans, the Memorial Day weekend will be the first time to
have the boat on the water this year.
TWRA officials say taking a few minutes to check some of the boat
components may be the key to having a nice, safe day. Merely performing
a simple maintenance check before getting on the water may prevent
problems. Check hoses to make sure they are in good shape. Check spark
plugs and be sure to use UL marine grade plugs. Make sure the lights
work and 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
*have onboard a fire extinguisher if you have enclosed fuel compartments
*anyone under the age of 13 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
*keep alcohol to a minimum–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
*practice good seasmanship
*cut the engine while boarding from the water or entering the water from
*be aware of the carbon monoxide hazards that exist and keep fresh air
*no wake means idle speed
*take a boating safety course – log onto www.tnwildlife.org for