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Outdoors Notebook: Boating safety top priority

Larry Woody, Outdoors Writer • Updated Jul 27, 2013 at 12:42 AM

In preparation for the busy July 4 holiday, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is participating in Operation Dry Water, which is designed to educate the public about boating under the influence  and to make enhanced enforcement plans.

The program is in its fifth year, and the goal is to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season, get offenders off the water, and serve as a deterrent to future violations.

TWRA officers will saturate high traffic areas on reservoirs across the state. They will be intensifying efforts to detect and apprehend boat operators who are operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

During last year’s Dry Water Operation weekend,135 TWRA officers logged more than 1,700 hours on the water. They checked almost 2,400 vessels, wrote 180 citations, 148 warnings and made 19 BUI arrests. One boat operator was arrested for his second BUI violation in three years.

In Tennessee it is illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent of higher – the same as operating an automobile. Penalties may include fines, jail time, boat impoundment and loss of boating privileges.

Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effect of alcohol, drugs and some medications.


Tennessee hot for crappie: According to fishound.com, Tennessee has two of the nation’s two four crappie lakes.

Kentucky Lakes ranks No. 3 and Reelfoot Lake No. 4. Grenada Lake and Sardis Lake, both in Mississippi, rank No. 1 and 2.

Watts Bar Lake was ranked the ninth-best catfishing lake in the U.S. and Chickamauga Lake ranked No. 13. The Cumberland River and its various lakes also ranked high on the list for prime catfishing. The Tennessee state record blue cat was caught from the Cumberland River in 1998 and weighed 112 pounds. A 130-pounder was caught on commercial tackle in 1976.

Fishound.com is a membership-based online social-media outlet that allows anglers, tackle manufactures and others to interact and exchange information and ideas.


WMA deadline reminder: Applications for this fall’s elk hunt and other WMA big-game hunts is midnight, July 24.

Application instruction sheet lists locations for all quote hunts, including the elk hunt, and can be obtained at any TWRA license agent, TWRA office or online at the TWRA website, www.tnwildlife.org

There is no fee for Annual Sportsman License holder, Lifetime Sportsman license holders, or seniors possessing a Type167 permit in addition to their permanent senior citizen license. For all other applicants there is a non-refundable $10 fee. There also is a $1 fee for applications made at a license agent.

Additional information is available on the TWRA website, or by calling the Nashville TWRA headquarters. After all WMA drawings are conducted, any leftover permits will be sold on-line, starting Aug. 28.

Outdoor Calendar

July 24: Deadline for WMA quota hunt applications.

July: Trapping & Hunting Guide comes out.

August: Fall squirrel season opens.

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