tva logoTennessee Valley Authority

Play it safe!

Your safety depends on obeying all posted safety regulations and warnings.

Please follow these simple rules when you are fishing, swimming, or wading near or below a dam:

  • Never go into the water alone, and always wear a personal flotation device.
  • Inspect waders for signs of wear, and use ties to prevent water from entering boots. Wetsuits are an excellent substitute for waders, especially in cold water below many tributary dams.
  • Fish, swim, or wade below dams only during low-flow periods.
  • Stay out of restricted areas.
  • Plan a quick exit from the water to the nearest bank in case of an emergency.
  • Move to a safer area immediately if a siren sounds or strobe lights flash at dams equipped with these warning devices.

State agencies, which are responsible for boater safety, advise boaters to take special precautions when fishing below a dam by boat. The water can boil up suddenly, trapping or capsizing boaters. Always wear a personal flotation device, and leave the motor running—even if drift fishing. A stalled or hard-to-start motor can result in disaster.

Never anchor your boat in the area below a dam

A sudden surge of water can pull a boat under and sink it before you have a chance to pull up the anchor and move to safety.

Do not enter restricted areas marked by buoys, booms, cables, or signs. The closer you get to a dam, powerhouse, or lock, the more hazardous it can be. Exploring these areas too closely is not worth the gamble.

If you are caught in surging water

Any moving water can be dangerous. If you are caught in the water and swept off your feet, remember the following:

  • Drop any items that can weigh you down.
  • Stay calm, lie on your back, and keep your feet up and pointed downstream to avoid rocks and foot entrapment.
  • Swim on your back with the current and then swim diagonally across the stream until you reach the shore.
  • Do not attempt to stand up until you are in shallow, slow-moving water.
  • If you get trapped on an island, stay there and signal for help

Information on reservoir levels and streamflows

For the latest information on current and predicted reservoir levels, streamflows, and expected water releases from TVA dams, please call one of the following numbers or go to

Knoxville:  632-2264
Chattanooga:  751-2264
Muscle Shoals:  386-2264
Other locations:  1-800-238-2264

If you need additional information or have questions, please call this number:

865-632-6065 (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST)



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