Labor Day is the last major boating holiday weekend of the season

NASHVILLE, TN (TWRA) - As the Labor Day 2009 holiday weekend approaches, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) wants to emphasize the use of life jackets while boating in a safe and responsible manner. The Labor Day holiday is annually the last major weekend of the boating season.

Wearing a life jacket is the single most effective way to protect boaters and reduce drowning in boating accidents. Eighty percent of those who drown in boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket.

Thus far in 2009 on Tennessee waters, there have been 128 accidents with 13 fatalities. Over the Labor Day holiday weekend in 2008, there were 13 accidents with no fatalities and 10 boating under the influence (BUI) arrests.

TWRA officers have made 135 BUI arrests in 2009. Hamilton County has the most BUI arrests recorded with 25 followed by Davidson County with 23 and then Sumner County with 10.   The TWRA wants all those who visit the waterways to have an enjoyable time. However, TWRA officers will be on the watch for dangerous boating behavior, such as boating under the influence (BUI) and other reckless operation.

It is important to consider the effects of drinking and driving whether on water or land. In a boat on the water, consuming one beer is equivalent to drinking three beers on land because of external stressors such as engine vibration, wave motion and glare from the sun. Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle.