Know Before You Row:  A Boating Accident Could Be Eminent at Percy Priest Lake This Memorial Day Weekend if You Don’t Know This…

Know Before You Row boating safety information brought to you by the personal injury and boating accident liability lawyers at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm in Nashville, Tennessee

Thinking about heading out to Percy Priest Lake this Memorial Day weekend to take the family and friends on a rental pontoon, house boat, speedboat, or hit the jet skis?  Or do you already own a boat and are finally ready to get out there and begin enjoying your investment for the summer season?

Earlier this month, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued the warning that Percy Priest recreation seekers may find themselves in hot water out there on the lake if they head out unprepared with little knowledge of the lake’s current unseasonably shallow depths.   “Boaters who spent last Memorial Day weekend on Percy Priest Lake will find it a very different lake than the one they might have experienced last year,” said Todd Yann with USACE.

Percy Priest Lake Map

Due to a lack of substantial rainfall in the past several months, officials are moving the U.S. Drought Monitor to the “moderate drought” category for much of the Cumberland River Basin. This area covers the Stones River Watershed, which includes Percy Priest Lake. The lake’s current elevation is 3 feet below normal for this time of year.  This could spell a treacherous situation for weekenders who aren’t familiar with the topography of the lake bottom or what the depth of the water needs to be to clear it.

“Percy Priest Lake has a rock bottom,” said Todd Yann with the Army Corps of Engineers. “And if you don’t know your way around the lake, you want to stay in the channels where the water is deeper.” Otherwise, USACE says, accidentally skimming the bottom of a shallow lake at even a slow rate of speed could cause extensive damage the hull of your craft, cause it to wreck and capsize, cause a collision with other nearby boats, and cause you, your passengers, or other boaters serious and/or life-threatening injuries.

Though it may seem like we’ve had a lot of rain in May because we’ve seen a lot of drizzling and clouds, Channel 4 meteorologist Dan Thomas said “most of the rain events in May only amounted to a few one-hundredths or an inch each. In April every year, Middle Tennessee usually gets about 4 inches of rain, Thomas says that’s  a little over three inches from where we should be at now nearing the end of May.  The Corps doesn’t fill the lake.  Percy Priest Lake depends on the rain. So far, there hasn’t been enough of it.

Low Lake Water Level Safety Tips

  • Swimmers and boaters (including any type of watercraft)  are advised to be extra cautious at Percy Priest Lake
  • At Percy Priest Lake, swimmers are advised not to go beyond the pipelines at the lake’s three swim beaches at Anderson Road Day Use, Cook Day Use and Seven Points Campground. Anyone jumping into the lake is advised to exercise extreme caution.
  • Boaters are advised to keep a detailed map of the lake and/or highly encouraged to purchase digital equipment that scans and indicates channel depths and locations.
  • Each boater and/or boat passenger is advised to wear a properly fastened life jacket.
  • Boaters are advised to carry a charged cell phone or a solar battery and ensure marine radio (to transmit and receive information, weather conditions, send distress calls, etc)  if available aboard is in proper working order.
  • And again, like previously mentioned, if you don’t know your way around the lake steer clear of the smaller, narrower channels which could likely be much lower than you remember.

Involved in a boating accident in Tennessee? Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can help

After you have suffered a serious injury in a boating accident, you will likely have many questions about what can be done in your situation. Call Rocky at 615-425-2500 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation at our offices in Nashville, Hendersonville or Knoxville. The personal injury attorneys of Rocky McElhaney Law Firm are always ready to fight on your behalf, and to seek justice for those who have been hurt by the negligence of another. We fight for you!