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TWRA teaching kayak safety as popularity of paddle sports grows


TWRA teaching kayak safety as popularity of paddle sports grows

TENNESSEE WILDLIFE RESOURCES AGENCY

The boating season officially began on Memorial Day weekend and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers have been patrolling our waters in an effort to keep everyone safe.

Amid the flurry of fishing boats, ski boats, sail boats, personal water craft and pontoon boats there is the kayak.

Kayaks are quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of water sport activity in Tennessee and wildlife officer Tanner Romsdal, who spends many of his days during the summer months patrolling Old Hickory Lake, understands a key to safety is knowledge.

“The number of recreational paddle-craft users has increased substantially in the past few years, and as an agency we are certainly glad to see more people enjoying one of our greatest resources in this state, our waterways,” Romsdal says. “With that we have also recognized the need to educate the public on how to use kayaks, canoes and paddle boards in a safe manner to ensure everyone goes home after a great day paddling.”

In an effort to increase awareness about paddlesport safety, Romsdal is organizing a Kayak Basic Operations and Safety Class that will introduce kayakers to safety rules and equipment, basic paddle strokes, precautions on open water and how to re-enter the kayak after capsizing.

“As an officer working our waterways, I know too often we have to address safety violations, such as not having a life jacket on board or not displaying proper lighting after sunset. Unfortunately, we have also had to investigate numerous boating fatalities that involved paddle-craft users. At the end of the day, we want the public to enjoy the resource, but more importantly, enjoy it safely!”

The free Kayak Safety Seminar is scheduled for 9 a.m. to Noon on Saturday June 23, at Cedar Creek Recreation Area on Old Hickory Lake. Participants will get wet! This is a hands-on class where students will get in the water to practice what they learn.

There are 30 spaces available and to register for the class you can contact Tanner Romsdal 615-522-8305 or Barry Cross 615-393-4802.

If you own a kayak, the instructors encourage you to use it, in this way you will become more familiar with your own equipment. The TWRA does have a limited number of boats for use in the class and those who need one should request one as they register.

The address for Cedar Creek Recreation Area is 9264 Saundersville Road, Mt Juliet, TN. Once on the property follow the signs to the TWRA tent.

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