State wildlife agents use lake to prepare for boat accidents

Perhaps you’ve driven by the Paris Landing State Park and witnessed a gathering of large white boats? Well, that fleet belongs to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and is part of their efforts to prepare some of their newer members for what they might expect to find on the states’ lakes, rivers and other waterways.

TWRA agents from around the state have been gathering at the park recently to undergo a series of training exercises designed to get them ready for a wide range of activities ranging from rescuing victims from the water and enforcing boating regulations.

Veteran TRWA boating officers say that the event is a great way to transmit their knowledge to younger officers. The newer members are put through a rigorous series of scenarios that resemble things they may soon have to deal with in a real-world situation. For example, learning how to maneuver some of the larger vehicles in a crowded marina or getting the feel of what it’s like to approach another boat at speed at the helm of one of the agency’s faster interdiction-type vessels.

Here in the Volunteer State, there are over 200,000 boats registered statewide. That means that on any given weekend, TWRA officers have to be ready to deal with everything from warning motorists about wearing their flotation devices or retrieving boaters who ran out of fuel while in the middle of a lake to chasing down boaters impaired by drugs or alcohol. That’s why the training is so diverse and extensive: to get agents ready for whatever situation comes their way.

This time of year always brings a good number of Tennessee residents out to area lakes, rivers and other waterways. Some are looking to try their hand at fishing, while others are looking forward to cutting up the waves on their jet skis. Regardless of the type of water-related recreation you are into, the potential exists that you or another member of your family will be injured by an inattentive or impaired boat operator.

Boat accidents can cause serious injuries that can require expensive medical treatments. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit to recover any out-of-pocket medical costs associated with preventable types of crashes.

Source: The Post-Intelligencer, “New officers undergo training in Paris Landing area” Steve McAdams, Aug. 08, 2014