Boaty Safety

Be Safe on the Water.  Wear Coast Guard approved life jackets, use good judgment, and know the rules and laws of Kentucky Boating Safety.

Kentucky Online Boating Safety Course

Boat Ed offers an online boating safety course developed for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. This safe boating course lets you get your Kentucky Boater Safety Education Certificate online and this site also has information on Kentucky boater education law.  

Kentucky Lake: TVA Dam Operating Information

Tennessee Valley Authority 

Barkley Lake: Dam Operating Information

For information by phone, call 270-362-4236 

Visit the Army Corp of Engineers Nashville District

Find safety information, information on Corp managed recreation facilities and more.  


Don't allow tragedy to drown out fond Memories at Corps lakes this summer

By Lt. Col. James A. DeLapp
Nashville District Commander

Reprinted by permission US Army Corp of Engineers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 7, 2012) –With the 2012 recreation season already underway, I want everyone to know that “Water Safety” is extremely important to me and to everyone that serves the public in the Nashville District.

Knowing what to do to safeguard loved ones around water is vital for this reason.  Of the 19 recorded deaths on Nashville District lakes last fiscal year, nearly half were directly attributable to not making good decisions.

Some of the accidents involved taking risks such as drinking alcohol, swimming long distances, diving into shallow water, or boating at high speeds. In most cases the victims did not wear their life jackets.

This recreation season I want men, women and children of all ages to seriously think about water safety and take steps to reduce the risk of tragedy. I would also note that men age 18-55 fall into the highest fatality statistic because they often take risks.  Despite this, anyone can be a victim regardless of age, and it only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown, and 60 seconds for an adult to drown. 

The best thing anyone can do to remain safe is to wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket and not an inflatable toy to keep safe.  Never swim alone, and swim in designated areas.  Know your limits and never be influenced or swayed by peer pressure to exceed them or to take any unwarranted risks in and around the water.  Even great swimmers drown when they make poor decisions and take risks such as attempting to swim long distances.

When boating, remember to always wear life jackets.  It’s too late to put them on after an accident has occurred and passengers have been ejected. 

Boating near a dam also has risks.  Remember never to anchor the boat.  Adhere to all buoys, sirens, signs, ropes, and navigational aids and, again, always wear your life jacket.  Water at dams can quickly rise and currents can strengthen with little notice. A boat can be pulled toward the dam, flipped, and capsized, trapping people underwater. Always use extreme caution near a dam, even if just fishing from the shoreline.

Alcohol, boating and swimming don’t mix.  Nearly 50 percent of all accidents on the water each year are the result of alcohol consumption.  When you add long hours in the sun, vibration, noise and motor fumes, it only intensifies the effects of alcohol on judgment, balance, vision and reflexes.

When operating a boat, also be courteous and use good judgment.  Slow down when passing other vessels, fishermen, swimmers or anyone who might be unaware of your presence in the area.  Never stop and swim in busy navigational channels or around boat ramps or courtesy floats.

Nearly 700 people drown each year nationwide from recreational boating accidents.  It’s imperative that everyone wear a life jacket when recreating in and around the water.

I know some people think it’s not cool or even uncomfortable to wear them, but there are options available today that helps with these misconceptions.  There are cooler, sleeker and much more comfortable inflatable life jackets that have the ability to turn an unconscious person face up in the water.

Although people ages 16 and under and non swimmers are not authorized to wear inflatable life jackets, it is a great option for those who can.  And they are great for playing it safe during this summer’s recreation season.

Keep youngsters safe by having them wear a proper-fitting Coast Guard approved life jacket for when they venture into the water.

Don’t know how and when to wear a life jacket?  Stop, and ask questions.  Get it right before entering the water.  Park rangers at the lakes are there to assist visitors with their questions and they want to help with water safety issues that the public might encounter.  Seek them out and give them an opportunity to assist. It’s better to be sure about something before making a snap and unsafe decision that could turn into tragedy.

Please visit Corps lakes and have fun.  But be safe doing it.  I want every visitor to have fond memories when returning home.

Best wishes for a safe summer.