All mechanically powered boats or sailboats used in Tennessee must be registered, and fees will vary by the size of the vessel. Boats that must be registered cannot be used on any open water in Tennessee until the proper registration has been completed. Visit www.tn.gov/twra/boating#registration or call the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency at 800-648-8798.
There are several places to launch a boat in Blount County. To name a few, boaters can launch into Little River at Bill Bennett Bridge, Peery’s Mill and Walland Roadside picnic area. Boaters can launch into Fort Loudoun Lake at Choto Marina, and Tellico Lake can be accessed at the Tallassee Access and Harrison Branch. Visit www.tn.gov/twra/gismaps.html or call 615-781-6682.
LIFE JACKETSAll children 12 years old and under are required to wear a personal flotation device that is Coast Guard approved when on the open deck of a recreational boat or when the boat is underway. The operator of a boat must have one personal flotation device that is wearable and the correct size for every person on the boat or being towed by the boat. Flotation devices must be easily accessible and in good condition. Boats 16 feet or longer — excluding canoes and kayaks — must have one Type IV flotation device in case of someone falling overboard. All operators of personal watercrafts must wear a personal flotation device.
PERSONAL WATERCRAFTPersonal watercrafts, such as Jet Skis and Sea-Doos, must follow the same rules as boats, in addition to other regulations listed at www.tn.gov/twra/boating/regulations-and-safety -concerns.html.
OWNER RESPONSIBILITYThe owner of a vessel may be responsible for any injury or damage done by the vessel even if the owner is not present on the vessel and did not allow another individual to drive the vessel.
Adults born after Jan. 1, 1989, must have a TWRA-issued card on the boat at all times to show that he/she has completed a boating safety exam. Individuals younger than 12 cannot operate a powered boat of over 8.5 horsepower unless accompanied by an adult who is able to take control of the boat at any given time.
BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
By boating in Tennessee, operators are giving implied consent to chemical tests to determine blood-alcohol level or the use of drugs. The blood alcohol content level of 0.08% or greater constitutes a violation.