Nashville, TN – The Labor Day holiday, the final major weekend of the 2011 summer boating season is September 2nd-5th. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) wants to 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.
So far in 2011 on Tennessee waters, there have been 21 fatal accidents resulting in 22 deaths. There have been 69 injury accidents and 50 property damage accidents reported. TWRA boating officers have made 110 BUI arrests, a reduction of 36 from the same period last year.
Heading into the Labor Day holiday period in 2010, there had been 158 accidents and 18 fatalities. There was one fatality in the two boating accidents reported during the holiday weekend. Also, TWRA boating officers made five BUI arrests during the weekend.
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.
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. 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.
Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 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.