MEMPHIS, Tenn.– The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is stepping up patrols on waterways across the state.
The state of Tennessee’s new boating law went into effect just before the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Nicholas’ Law would give people driving boats drunk similar penalties as those who drive vehicles while drunk.
The law makes the consequences of boating under the influence the same as DUI for repeat offenders. With a second offense, you could lose your license for two years.
“If you are found to be impaired while boating in a boat in Tennessee waterways under the influence, you will be charged with BUI, arrested, and taken to jail,” said Darren Rider with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
The new law also means that a person will be prohibited from driving a boat until they are able to seek reinstatement of their driving privileges.
Sunday, we saw several people out at the Mud Island marina enjoying the long holiday weekend on the water. More people on the water means boaters must pay extra attention.
“It’s a lot of people out here you have to be safe, respect the water, and respect everyone else out here it’s a lot of kids out here a lot of families,” said boater David Wagner.
This weekend, the TWRA is performing “Operation Dry Water” — more officers will be on the water looking for drunk boaters.
“It’s pretty serious, you can hurt a lot of people out here just as bad as you can in a car,” Wagner added.
Boaters with the Memphis Yacht Club like Doug Stanberry say they appreciate state leaders for doing what they can to make the waters safer.
“I think it is a good thing to keep us all a little safer, the rivers have their own obstacles that lakes don’t have so it keeps us all safer,” Stanberry said.