Boating season launches off Memorial Day weekend - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Boating season launches off Memorial Day weekend

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CHATTANOOGA -

Memorial Day weekend is a busy time on the roads, but it's also a busy time on the water. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wants to make sure everyone is safe.    

There were 23 deaths on Tennessee waters last year which is about a 50% increase from 2015, it’s startling number that TWRA says could've been prevented.

It's a sunny day at Harrison Bay, Officer Barry Baird goes up and down the Tennessee River patrolling the waters ahead of a busy weekend.

"At TWRA we encourage everyone to get out and enjoy Tennessee’s various waterways. We ask that you do that responsibly and practice safe boating,” Baird said.

When you see officers out on the water. They’re making sure the rules are being followed, and making sure, everyone has a life jacket or PFD.

"Drowning is the number one cause of fatalities in recreational boating... and a majority of those victims were not wearing their life jacket,” Baird explained.

There are five things to keep in mind to be sure you and your loved ones are safe while on the water this weekend.

  1. Boat in working order, check safety gear
  2. Look at forecast, share plan
  3. Have a look out
  4. Don't drink & boat
  5. Life jackets

"Boating safety starts at home. Make sure your boat is in good working order with your navigation and lights are operational and make sure all safety features are on board,” Baird said.

Just like on the roads, officers say you should always designate a sober driver.

"Never operate a boat under the influence a citation can cost you money possible jail time and a loss of boating privileges and can ultimately cost you or someone else your lives,” he explained.

This year there has already been seven deaths on Tennessee waters. Officers hope their work can prevent accidents from happening.

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