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TWRA Cracking Down On Impaired Boating for Independence Day

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
TWRA Cracking Down On Impaired Boating for Independence Day

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is cracking down on impaired boating this weekend.

Sargeant Dustin Buttram said a lot of people fail to recognize the danger of boating under the influence. He said this compounded with the increased drinking on hot days leads to an increase in impaired boating incidents over the 4th of July weekend.

“Without having those lines on the waterways like you would on the road that you have to keep your vehicle between, they don’t recognize that as big of a threat,” Buttram said. “Our lakes around our area, they’re big, they’re wide, and there’s a lot of room to maneuver around and I think that gives them maybe a false sense of security.”

Buttram said the legal blood alcohol content limit for operating a boat in Tennessee is the same as operating a car. He said under new laws that take effect July 1st, there will be increased penalties for impaired boating.

“There will be a set amount of jail time that you have to spend depending if it’s your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd,” Buttram said. “And then there are some enhancements on if there’s under-aged kids on the boat with you, just like it would if it was a DUI.

Buttram said on 1st offense, there will be 48 hours of jail time and you would lose your boating license, and penalties increase further for further offenses.

Buttram said to ensure safety for everyone on your boat to make sure you have a designated sober operator, to always have life jackets ready, and to make sure the lights on your boat are working properly to prevent collisions.

“A lot of times during these fireworks shows it’s late at night and they don’t realize the lights aren’t working until after dark, and that just creates another hazard not being able to be seen,” Buttram said. “The lights I’m talking about will be the red and green navigational lights on the front of the boat, and you need to have an all-around white light that’s above everything else so your boat is visible.”

Buttram said there will be at least two officers in every boat the TWRA has available over the weekend and on the 4th.


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