The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reports there was one boating-related fatality and nine boating under the influence (BUI) arrests made over a four-day span which included the Independence Day (July 4) holiday and the annual Operation Dry Water.
The fatality occurred July 4 on Normandy Lake in Coffee County. According to witnesses, a 61-year-old man from Huntsville, Alabama jumped off the back of a ski boat and swam away, but did not return. Individuals attempted to rescue the man. The TWRA received the call shortly after noon and his body was recovered that evening.
Operation Dry Water was held July 5-7 and is a national weekend of awareness and enforcement campaign directed toward reducing alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities. Operation Dry Water is held near the Independence Day holiday to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season.
Four of this year’s BUI arrests came in TWRA Region IV (East TN). Two arrests were made in Region I (West TN) and II (Middle TN), and one in Region III (Cumberland Plateau). There were four citations issued for reckless operation in Region III.
In addition to the fatality, there were two injury accidents, one each in Region II and III. There were three property damage incidents.
More than 7,300 boats were inspected during the four days. Officers issued 220 citations, and 109 warnings.
The TWRA Boating and Law Enforcement Division compiled this year’s holiday and Operation Dry Water statistics after receiving reports from the agency’s four regions.