TWRA outlines potential dangers on the water during summer months

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Summertime naturally draws boaters to area rivers and lakes.

While it can be a lot of fun, sometimes unexpected weather can become a concern.

Josh Landrum of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has been on the water much of his life. He has seen firsthand how the weather can turn a peaceful day on the lake into a dangerous situation.

Josh Landrum (Photo: WKRN)

“When people are out here on the lake, they might come out and it might be a very sunny, warm day at first,” he said. “Especially in the spring time and the summertime, these weather systems will move in during the afternoons.”

Landrum continued, “We’ll have pop-up thunderstorms, and the water can become treacherous.  I’ve seen swells of four to six feet out here during strong thunderstorms that are pushing in.  Four to six feet swells can easily overtake a canoe or a kayak pretty quickly, and also a small bass boat.”

In addition to unexpected pop-up storms, there’s also the danger of lightning on an open lake.

“If you start seeing that lightning in the sky, you need to get somewhere safe quickly. Make it to a dock. Make it to a shoreline, anywhere other than being out in this open water,” Landrum said.

When there is heavy rain and flooding, a whole new danger can appear on at lakes and rivers.

Photo: WKRN

“The Corps of Engineers and the TVA, they’re going to start opening up their dams to release the water.  All that rain water that they’re releasing is making that current very strong.  If you fall into that water without a life jacket on, things can go bad pretty quickly,” Landrum explained.

He continued, “Always pay attention to any warning signs that you see. Below each dam there are typically warning signs stating that there could be strong and dangerous currents.”

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