June 2009

TVAP marine officers patrol TVA waters

TVA Police and other law-enforcement officers are on and around the water to promote recreational water safety and to respond to emergencies and calls for other services. On the major warm-weather holidays — Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day — TVAP boats may patrol up to 12 hours a day.

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TVAP Officer Steve Wade shows information necessary for a life vest to be approved for use.

TVAP officers look for unsafe conditions, boaters with no life jackets, boating and drinking, and negligent driving.

“We look for erratic behavior and unsafe vehicle operation,” says TVAP Officer Steve Wade. “If we see someone sitting on the back of his seat or driving with his feet, it’s a pretty good sign he is inebriated.”

Wade says it’s kind of like being on the highway. “You have aggressive boaters out here just like you have aggressive drivers on the highway. You should always try to yield to the right of way. Make sure you have on Coast Guard-approved life jackets and make sure they fit properly. That’s probably the main thing. About 90 percent of drowning deaths occur with people who are not wearing life jackets.”

Since 1996, TVAP’s Marine Patrol officers have assisted boaters on TVA’s shorelines, helped with security and traffic control at special events on the lake, and assisted in search-and-rescue efforts.