The Handbook of Tennessee: Boating Laws and Responsibilities

The Handbook of Tennessee: Boating Laws and Responsibilities


The Handbook of Tennessee: Boating Laws and Responsibilities is the official boating handbook developed for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The handbook introduces you to Tennessee laws governing boating and provides general information about safe vessel operation on Tennessee waterways.

Considered one of the best recreational lakes—and one of the most beautiful—in the Southeast, Tennessee’s Tims Ford Reservoir offers an ideal location for boating and fishing. For something more adventurous, take to Tennessee’s rivers for a day of both calm and whitewater paddling.

Use this handbook to familiarize yourself with steps to make all your boating outings safe and enjoyable. Remember, safety on Tennessee waterways is the responsibility of all boaters.

Topics include:

  • Vessel Basics
  • Navigation Rules
  • Nighttime Navigation
  • Emergencies
  • Personal Watercraft (PWCs)
  • Tennessee Boating Laws and Regulations
  • Required Equipment
  • Skiing
  • And much more…

Boater Education

You may have heard that you need a boating license to operate your boat, but what you really need is a boaters safety course. Whether or not your state requires education, it can reduce boating accidents and injuries on the water. Boaters can keep themselves and their passengers safe by learning about responsible boat operation, etiquette, and the rules of the waterways.

Persons born after January 1, 1989, and operating a motorized vessel of more than 8.5 horsepower, must pass a Tennessee-approved boat education course and carry the TWRA-issued wallet Boating Safety Education Certificate as proof of successful completion.