SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - With beautiful weather coming, many boaters will be out on our area lakes for the first time this season. But before you get out on the water you need to ask, is your boat ready? And are you ready as an operator?
With the sunshine Friday, it was a familiar site at area boat ramps in the region as folks began to get back on the waters of our lakes. But be reminded, the lakes themselves are not a full pool just yet.
Boone Lake was brought down to record levels this year for some repairs to the dam. It's slowly on the rise, but there still may be some shallow areas, and debris could be floating on the surface.
South Holston is about ten feet away from full pool at this time. As it fills, it too will bring out some floating debris.
Before you make that first trip, is your boat seaworthy? The Johnson City Power Squadron, a volunteer safety group, can help you with that as they have a free safety check coming up April 26 at Wing Deer Park's boat ramp. "It will cover about 30 different items on your boat, from fuel, ventilation, electrical systems, and safety devices such as personal flotation devices," education officer Mitch Meredith said.
Dale Thomas with Laurel Marina says there are quite a few things to remember before you put in. "First thing we want to do is make sure the battery is charged up, and make sure the plug is in the boat. We don't want to put the boat in the water and the boat start to fill up with water. We take the plug out in the winter. Make sure the electrical for sure is working properly. The navigation issue is not going to be an issue when the sun goes down," Thomas says.
The Power Squadron also provide boating safety course, which is required if you were born after January 1, 1989. "We've actually got three of them coming up in April, May and June. They're a two night course. At the completion of that you'll end up with your boater safety certificate," Meredith says.
So if you hit the water with the beautiful weather, remember to practice safety first.