Officials stressing boating safety on Labor Day - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Officials stressing safety as boaters hit the water for Labor Day

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Three people in Tennessee have died over the holiday weekend in boating accidents, and with more people expected to hit the water on Labor Day, authorities are trying to make sure boaters keep safety in mind.

TWRA officials said there have been many boating under the influence offenses on the water this summer.

"We want them to have a good time, but in return, we also want them to be safe," said Josh Landrum, wildlife officer with the TWRA.

There has been no shortage of serious, sometimes fatal, water-related accidents this summer. A Grundy County man drowned Saturday while tubing on Tims Ford Lake. He was not wearing a life jacket.

Two other west Tennessee men died Saturday night on Pickwick Lake after their boat hit a barge. Neither or those men were wearing life jackets either.

Certain violations, including not wearing a life jacket, can mean an automatic citation for the driver with no warning.

"We can't give any warnings for somebody that does not have enough life jackets," Landrum said. "Whenever you are out skiing and tubing, that individual skiing or tubing has to be wearing a life jacket. That's something we've seen a lot this summer."

Children 12 and under must wear a life jacket at all times unless the boat is anchored.

Here are some safety tips from officials:

  • Everyone on board needs to wear a life jacket
  • Do not drink alcohol and operate a boat
  • Do not overload your vessel
  • Slow down, especially in harbors
  • Check the forecast before heading out

Another important safety tip is to make sure someone on shore knows where you're going and when you're expected to come back, just in case something happens so that authorities will know where to look for you.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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