TWRA patrolling area lakes as boating season kicks off
It is the unofficial start to summer and as the days heat up, so will enforcement from TWRA.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be out in full force making sure our area waterways are safe.
As more and more people crowd onto Chickamauga Lake, TWRA officers Barry Baird and Andrew Ward are keeping a close eye out for safety issues.
"Along with that increase in boating traffic can always come an increase in boating accidents," says Baird.
Baird and Ward have been out patrolling the waters over the holiday weekend, hitting up hot spots like party cove. They are also checking in on families like the Haralsons.
"What we're going to do is just a safety check. Will that be alright with you?" Baird asks, as they get closer to the Haralson's boat.
"I don't know what half of this stuff is on this boat. I try," Rebecca Haralson tells Channel 3.
Haralson says she is glad to see the patrols, saying the officers are both friendly and helpful.
"I'm glad they're out here. At least now I know where the fire extinguisher is," she says with a laugh.
"There's no speed limits out here. There's no roadways. There are navigational buoys, which you need to try and stay inside of, but the biggest part is, you don't know what the other person's going to do. So if you mind your 'Ps and Qs' hopefully they will also," says Baird.
Besides being courteous to other boaters, Baird says being safe on the water comes down to using common sense. And above all, he says, common sense means not drinking and boating.
"We really recommend not having any alcohol on your vessel. But if you're going to, please, have a designated driver," he says.
If you are convicted of boating under the influence, a first offense can bring fines of up to $2,500. For multiple offenses, you can spend close to a year in jail.