Sullivan County

Boating safety reminders as season starts

Boating safety

BRISTOL, Tenn. - As temperatures rise, people are getting their boats ship-shape for summer and ready to hit the lakes.

According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the increase in outdoor activity also bring the increase in accidents. The month of May is the start of what law enforcement officers call the most dangerous season for boaters.

Most people don't like wearing one of the most simple lifesaving devices because they are uncomfortable.The TWRA says lifejackets could have saved the five lives lost this year on Tennessee waterways.

Clark Lucas of the Johnson City Sail and Power Squadron instructed future boaters on water safety Tuesday night. He says, "We teach boat safety and, because of the accidents on the water and the number of young people operating, we want them to learn a safe way to boat."

According to boating officials, Tennesseeans born after 1989 will need to take a $10 boating safety class and take the test to get a boating license.

If you were born before 1989, you may take the exam without the class. However, you are not required to take either. In Virginia, as of July 1, 2014, anyone under  the age of 45 will have to take the Virginia boating safety course, but anyone driving a personal watercraft (such as a jet ski) is required to take the course.

For more information about waterway laws in Tennessee or Virginia state, visit or

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