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UC Saw Seven Fatalities From Boating In 2021

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
UC Saw Seven Fatalities From Boating In 2021

The Upper Cumberland saw seven fatalities from boating incidents in 2021.

TWRA Wildlife Sergeant Dustin Buttram said that across the state, there were 21 fatalities, 72 injuries, and 93 incidents of property damage. He said that most of the incidents came from operator inattention.

“Just not paying attention to their surrounding or other boats in the area, that’s one of our number one leading factors,” Buttram said. “Obvious a lot of our fatals involve alcohol. About 50 percent of our fatals will have some type of influence, either alcohol or drugs.”

Buttram said that in recent years, a large number of fatalities have come from paddle craft sports such as kayaking or canoeing. He said that the paddle craft industry has skyrocketed over the last five years.

“In 2021, six of our fatals were in paddle crafts,” Buttram said. “(…) You know they’re very easy to flip over. So what ends up happening is you’re fishing in these either swift water or even rough water, it’ll flip the kayak or canoe over, and they’re not having a life jacket on and they end up drowning.”

Buttram said that busier waterways with many inexperienced boaters has also added to the danger. He said that at the beginning of the pandemic, they saw the number of boaters increase by some 30 percent.

Buttram said that his best advice to address this issue is to take boater education classes. He said that it’s required for those born after January 1st, 1989, but even those folks who were born before then will have to something to gain from the classes.

The post UC Saw Seven Fatalities From Boating In 2021 appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.