Safety Urged for July 4th Holiday Weekend
Nashville, TN – Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials remind all those who visit the state’s waterways for the July Fourth holiday to be safe for what is annually one of the busiest weekends of the year.
TWRA officials emphasize the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs) while boating in a safe and responsible manner. The TWRA wants all those who visit the waterways to have an enjoyable time. However, TWRA officers will be on the watch for dangerous boating behavior, such as boating under the influence (BUI) and other reckless operation.
TWRA boating officers are coming off the third annual Operation Dry Water weekend. Operation Dry Water is a national weekend of BUI education and enforcement directed toward reducing alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities. Operation Dry Water is held during the weekend prior to the July 4th holiday to give BUI enforcement high visibility.
After making 27 arrests during the Operation Dry Water weekend in 2010, the TWRA Boating Division reports that BUI arrests were down to 11 this year across the state.
TWRA officers will again be out in force during the July 4th holiday period which runs from Friday, July 1st through midnight on Monday, July 4th.
In 2010, a 24-year old Chattanooga man was a drowning victim over the July 4th weekend near the Paradise Cove section of Chickamauga Lake. A total of 17 accidents resulted in 16 injuries and TWRA boating officers made 28 BUI arrests during the 2010 July 4th holiday period. Almost one third (nine) of the arrests came on Old Hickory Lake.
Through the Operation Dry Water weekend, there have been 13 fatalities on the state’s waterways in 2011. There have been 24 total injury accidents and 25 other accidents that have resulted in property damage. TWRA officers have made 51 BUI arrests, down from 85 at the same time last year.
Wearing a life jacket is the single most effective way to protect boaters and reduce drowning in boating accidents. Eighty percent of those who drown in boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket.
Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle. Penalties may include fines, jail, boat impoundment and the loss of boat driving privileges.
Statistics show that more than 20 percent of boating-related fatalities are a result of alcohol use. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications.