Stay safe on the water

Members of Coffee County Rescue Squad Les Blackford, Hannah Darnell, Eric Francisco, Neal Simmons, Jennifer Simmons, Dustin Darnell, Jamie McCullough, LeAnn McCullough, Doris Pike and Leonard Pike raise a boat at Barton Springs on June 29.

A lakeside breeze face, warm sun on your face, time on the lake is great from fishing to kayaking, but as the weather warms up a people are looking for ways to get out of the house, local lakes can harbor their own hazards.

“Keep weather aware,” said Coffee County Rescue Squad treasurer Jennifer Simmons. “And don’t overload your boat.”

Simmons said that the squad responds to from five to 10 boating calls per year in Coffee County. She added that the squad responds to mutual aid calls from other counties as well.

Calls can range from stranded boaters, drownings and boating accidents.

Boaters from Tennessee born after Jan. 1, 1989, must show the TWRA-issued wallet Boating Safety Education Certificate as proof of successful completion of the TWRA Boating Safety exam.

The state compares the mandatory boating education law to the driver’s license law.  You acquire the study materials, study, and then take an approved boating safety exam administered by an approved representative of the TWRA, TN.gov says.

Certification is not required if there is an adult on board to take immediate control of the vessel if the adult was born before Jan. 1, 1989.

Simmons recommended being prepared to help in the event of an emergency.

A flashlight with extra batteries in addition to providing illumination if caught out after dark can make sure other boaters can see you if your boat stalls or runs out of fuel.

Duct tape can make an emergency patch in the event of a leak, and a bail bucket can help clear water.

A whistle is a recognized signal for help on the water. Look for a waterproof version.

Available flotation devices are crucial.  According to state law, “all children 12 years of age and younger are required to wear a Coast Guard approved PFD while on the open deck of a recreational boat except when anchored, moored, or aground.”

Boaters must have one wearable Coast Guard approved device of the appropriate size and in good condition on board for each person in the boat or each person being towed. Second, each device must be kept readily accessible, not be hidden below deck or stored in plastic bags.

For more information on boater’s safety, go to www.tn.gov/twra/boating.html

John has been with the Manchester Times since May 2011. He covers Lifestyles in addition to handling education reporting and general news assignments.John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. John is a 1994 graduate of Tullahoma High School, a graduate of Motlow State Community College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

Staff Writer

John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. He is a graduate of THS, Motlow and MTSU. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

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