The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is participating in the 2022 National Safe Boating Week, May 21-27. The annual event promotes safe activity and the wear of life jackets as the summer boating season kicks off.
National Safe Boating Week is annually held the week prior to Memorial Day weekend. Boating partners across the United States and Canada are teaming to promote safe boating practices, including the wear of life jackets for National Safe Boating Week and throughout the 2022 boating season. The TWRA and the organizations continue to strive in their efforts in educating the boating community about life jacket wear and the options available when it comes to comfortable and lightweight life jackets.
Tennessee offers boating enthusiasts an abundance of opportunities to enjoy the resources across the state. Memorial Day weekend is viewed as the unofficial start to the summer boating season.
TWRA has reported a noticeable increase in traffic on the state’s lakes and rivers the last couple of years. Thus far in 2022, there have been eight statewide fatalities, three of which have involved paddlecraft.
“We want to continue to stress that the single most important action one can take to prevent drowning while boating is to wear a life jacket,” said Betsy Woods, TWRA Boating Education Coordinator. “We encourage our boaters to enjoy their time on the water in a safe and responsible matter.”
In addition, Friday, May 20 is Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day. Boaters can share a photo wearing a life jacket at work (or home) on social media along with the hashtag #lifejacket2work and tagging @boatingcampaign (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram). Photos can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners will be chosen randomly throughout the day to receive boating prizes from the Safe Boating Campaign, such as T-shirts, dry bags, first aid kits, stickers, and more.
Recommended tips for boaters:
- Take a boating safety course. Gain valuable knowledge and on-water experience in a boating safety course with many options for novice to experienced boaters.
- Check equipment. Schedule a free vessel safety check with local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons to make sure all essential equipment is present, working and in good condition.
- Make a float plan. Always let someone on shore know the trip itinerary, including operator and passenger information, boat type and registration, and communication equipment on board.
- Wear a life jacket. Make sure everyone wears a life jacket – every time. A stowed life jacket is no use in an emergency.
- Use an engine cut-off device. An engine cut-off device, or engine cut-off switch, is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard.
- Watch the weather. Always check the forecast before departing on the water and frequently during the excursion.
- Know what’s always going on around you at all times. Nearly a quarter of all reported boating accidents last year were caused by operator inattention or improper lookout.
- Know where you’re going and travel at safe speeds. Be familiar with the area, local boating speed zones and always travel at a safe speed.
- Never boat under the influence. A BUI is involved in one-third of all recreational boating fatalities. Always designate a sober skipper.
- Keep in touch. Have more than one communication device that works when wet. VHF radios, emergency locator beacons, satellite phones, and cell phones can all be important devices in an emergency.