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Lake safety tips from the TWRA

By Karissa Manis, Producer, kmanis@wcyb.com
Published On: Jun 15 2013 09:55:05 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 15 2013 08:52:33 AM CDT

After some recent drownings, we wanted to remind you about safety on the lake or river.

WASHINGTON COUTY, Tenn. -

After some recent drownings, we wanted to remind you about safety on the lake or river.

Marsha Carter and her family spent the day on Boone Lake Saturday, something they often do. "We're out here at least four days a week, sometimes seven. If it's pretty, we're here," she says.

She tells us when they are on the boat, safety is a priority. "You always need life jackets. We don't ever go out on the boat without having life jackets for every person," Carter said.

According to statistics from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, last year there were 18 boating fatalities across Tennessee -- a decrease from the year before, which had 19.
Nationally there were over 2,000 deaths.

TWRA boating officer Matt Swecker tells News 5 a lot of those deaths could have been prevented if people would wear a life jacket. "70 percent of individuals involved in boating accidents that were fatal was the result of a drowning. 85 percent of those were not wearing a life jacket," Swecker says.

Wearing a life jacket the proper way is important because you can drown even if you have one on.

Swecker says he patrols the waterways for any violations. "If we see a child under the age of 13 without a life jacket, that's a state law that they are required to wear one at all times," he explained.

He also looks for any type of reckless driving or impaired drivers. "The State of Tennessee is a .08 blood alcohol content for alcohol and/or drugs. You can be impaired by both," Swecker says.

But Carter says she doesn't see a lot of law breakers, and thinks everyone comes out to have a good, safe time. "Most everybody's responsible. You have a few [that aren't], but most people are real responsible about getting out and doing well," she told us.