WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is warning lake-bound Tennesseans to practice safe boating ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

On Friday, the TWRA held a media day at Winged Deer Park on Boone Lake to discuss the importance of safety on the lakes. According to the TWRA, Memorial Day weekend is the second busiest boating holiday each year, second only to July 4.

“The number one thing is safety, make sure you have lifejackets [are] on board for everybody,” TWRA Boating Officer John Ripley said. “We recommend you wear your lifejacket. The other thing is to have a sober operator operating your vessel, an impaired operator is the number one cause for boating fatalities in the state of Tennessee.”

Ripley told News Channel 11 that operating a boat is similar to driving a car in the sense that it should be operated sober or be pulled over.

According to Ripley, all boats should be properly registered with stickers on display. Boaters are also advised to check the weather forecast before heading out on the water.

So far in 2022, the TWRA reports the agency has investigated eight deaths and eight serious injuries related to boating accidents. The agency stated in a release that 22 people die in boating accidents each year in Tennessee.