NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Boating enthusiasts attending the 29th annual Nashville Boat & Sportshow at Music City Center are encouraged to navigate to the Corps of Engineers booth to get important information about local lakes before embarking on the water this recreation season.
Park Rangers from Old Hickory, J. Percy Priest and Cheatham Lakes are stationed at booth 328 today until the end of the boat show Sunday to provide recreation, boating and water safety information, and to answer questions.
“This is a great opportunity for us to interact with the public and specifically talk with people who will most likely frequent a Corps lake this summer,” said Park Ranger Charlie Leath, who works at Old Hickory Lake.
When the boat show opened 2 p.m. Thursday, Leath and Park Ranger Noel Smith, both from Old Hickory Lake, talked to show goers about water safety, life jackets, docks, and even their favorite fishing holes.
Leath said water safety is the key message presented to visitors who stop by. They can also grab free key chains, Frisbees, lake maps, brochures and learn how to properly wear and inflate a life jacket.
“This type of event is right up our alley and allows us to work with other rangers from the district,” said Leath. “Events like this allow us to get the water safety message out to a wide range of people in a very short amount of time.”
The four-day show expects 20,000 visitors and runs Thursday through Sunday. There is a wide range of vendors, canoes, motorboats, pontoons, jet skis, kayaks and million dollar yachts on display. A constant stream of visitors stopped by the Corps’ booth on the first day.
Mark and Sherry Scobee from Nashville live on J. Percy Priest Lake, and they stopped to chat with the park rangers.
“It’s great to see the park rangers here and have the opportunity to ask questions or just get basic lake information,” Sherry said.
The Nashville District operates 10 lakes in the Cumberland River Basin, which includes recreation areas and campgrounds. The district also provides collaborative water resource engineering solutions, world class public infrastructure management, and environmental stewardship for the Cumberland-Tennessee River Systems.
There were 18 fatalities at Nashville District lakes in 2014 and two fatalities already in 2015, which is an important factor that drives the park rangers to engage the public at events like at Music City Center.
“We want to encourage everyone to seriously think about boating and water safety, so they aren’t taking unnecessary risks that increase the chances of being involved in an accident,” Leath said.
(The public can get more water safety information at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/WaterSafety.aspx and local lake information at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Locations/Lakes.aspx. The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)