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Tennessee Boating Accident Risks Skyrocket through Summer

Boating season is in full swing. And while it’s time for some fun, it’s also a time for some important safety reminders. In recent weeks, several high-profile Tennessee boating accidents — one in Norris Lake and another in Cumberland River — have authorities preaching safety.

According to WBIR, a man from Andersonville was recently charged with boating under the influence (BUI) following an overnight boating accident. This one happened on Norris Lake in Union County. Near midnight, a runabout slammed right into the back-end of a pontoon boat. There were 11 people on these two boats. Two passengers on the pontoon were taken to Tennova-North Knoxville Medical Center and two passengers of the runabout were thrown into the water. Accident reports indicate that the runabouters were not wearing life jackets. While officials with the TWRA are still investigating, the captain of the runabout has been charged with BUI.

Our Tennessee boating accident attorneys understand that there was also a fatal accident that claimed the life of a woman from Clarksville. According to KnoxNews, the woman was tubing one evening when somehow she got caught in the boat’s propeller. Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency report that the woman was dead when they arrived. An additional boater was also injured in this accident. Officials are still looking into whether alcohol was a factor in the incident.

According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, there were close to 260,000 registered vessels in the state of Tennessee in 2011. That’s about 2,000 more than the previous year. With that being said, we also saw an increase in the number of reported boating accidents, from 162 in 2011 to more than 170 in 2012. Of all of the bodies of water in the state, Norris Lake and Chickamauga Lake were rated the most dangerous during the year, with close to 20 reported accidents each. Overall, Polk County was the county with the most reported boating accidents. The costs of boating accidents in Tennessee in 2013 totaled $2.3 million, also an increase from previous years.

When breaking down these kinds of accidents, it’s clear that a “collision with another vessel” was the most common type of accident reported, followed by fire. The most common operation during an accident was “cruising.”

According to the 2012 reports, there was an decrease in the number of accidents involving alcohol and/or drugs — from roughly 5 percent to less than 3 percent.

But we’re not off the hook.

There were still close to 20 boating fatalities in 2012. In addition to these fatalities, there were nearly 100 injury boating accidents reported, totaling more than 105 injuries. While we’ve seen a decrease in the number of deaths, by one fatality, from the year before, it’s time to hone in on safe boating habits through the remainder of boating season.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a boating accident, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. at (865) 524-5657.

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