Safety First This Spring

After a long winter, we’re all gearing up for spring, which for many of us means getting the boat ready for the first trip of the year to the lake. While making sure your boat is well maintained, everyone also needs to be aware of season-specific boat safety tips when you do get out on the lake. With water levels being considerably lower this time of the year, you must be conscious of your surroundings and any hazards you might encounter in the water.

Boat Safety Tips To Remember

Be mindful of underwater hazards

Things to be on the look out for are underwater obstacles that aren’t marked – like rocks, stumps, roots, fallen trees and lines – all of which will be much closer to the surface until the TVA brings water levels up to full pool. Over the winter, debris, which has settled on banks and dried out, gets into the water and begins floating, which can cause all sorts of trouble for boaters. Be extremely careful as you navigate your way through untested waters, particularly near the shoreline and in coves. Marked areas also require special attention so proceed with caution.

Be mindful too of the fact that because of the shallow water levels, docks, slips and other marina facilities will be lower. There are all sorts of underwater cables and even some structures in marinas, so be cautious when leaving and coming back into the marina. Watch for any areas near the marina and shoreline where you could encounter issues. Lower water levels can also make the mud even harder to deal with around ramps so if you put your boat in the water from a public or marina ramp, be aware of that as well.

If you’d like to check water levels at any of the area lakes, just check out the TVA’s website.

Keep your boat in the water

If you’re an experienced boater and you know the lake, you likely are aware of the various places that are generally rather shallow – just keep in mind that until the water levels are brought up they’re going to be even lower. You should pay particular attention to the depth gauge on your boat if you want to avoid running aground on a bar or some other type of land obstacle that is concealed by the water.

Even experienced boaters who know the lakes in this area well need to be vigilant about safety on the water, particularly until they’re full pool. And if you’re a novice, take the time to talk to boaters who know the area well – they can be very helpful in pointing out any particular areas that could pose problems for you.