For those that truly love boating and the outdoors, Fall is one of the best seasons to be out on the lake. There are some safety considerations though you should take into account on our Tennessee lakes. After TVA lowers the lake levels, usually after labor day, there are many water hazards that you might not have worried about during the summer months. We’ll talk about a few of those here, and what you can do to steer clear of them
Mind your depth gauge.
Those spots in the lake that were pretty shallow to begin with, are likely very shallow now that the water levels have been lowered. Pay careful attention to your depth gauge to avoid running aground on a bar or other shallow land obstacles under water. You should have a pretty good idea which parts of the lake were the most shallow from your summer boating – simply be MORE careful in those areas during the off-season months.
Watch underwater obstacles
With water levels being considerably lower, hazards that were of no concern during the summer months might be a big problem now. Even worse, since they aren’t ordinarily hazards – they may not even be marked! Underwater obstacles such as rocks, stumps, lines and fallen trees are considerable closer to the surface now and you need to be extra careful. We recommend proceeding carefully through any untested waters, especially in coves and near the shore, until you are certain that the passage is safe. Pay close attention as well in marked areas – as other unmarked hazards might be near the marked hazards.
Be careful in the marina too!
With lower water levels, the docks, slips and other marina facilities are also lower. Marinas are home to a host of underwater cables and structures. Be mindful of your boat coming and going from the marina and watch out for any areas that might be exposed due to the water levels along the shore decreasing. Don’t forget too – if you launch your boat from a public ramp, or the marina’s ramp, you’re likely to find stickier mud with the lower levels.
Fall boating can be a lot of fun and for those who love the outdoors – it is one of the best times of the year to be out on the water. Be careful of the hazards and make safety a priority and you’ll be enjoying many falls on the lake for years to come.