Boating deaths in Tennessee highest in 37 years

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee had 32 boating-related deaths in 2020, the most in 37 years, wildlife officials said.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reported an increase in traffic on the state’s lakes and rivers in 2020 as outdoor activities such as boating increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a year-end report, the agency said about 30% of the deaths had alcohol or drugs as a contributing factor. Along with the 32 deaths, there were 61 serious injury incidents that hurt 82 people, the agency said.

The agency is encouraging boaters to take a safety course, wear life jackets, beware of water conditions around dams and report unsafe operation of vessels.