Now that the sun is shining and temps are climbing, more folks will be out enjoying Tennessee’s waterways.
But, an afternoon of fun can quickly turn tragic. One river in Bedford County is drawing attention.
Andrea White, a certified kayak instructor, says the spring is when the Duck River will start to rise. So too will traffic on the river.
She says knowledge and water-safety training can save lives.
“Rivers like this, it's far too easy to take them for granted, and the hazards are very real,” said White.
It was July Fourth weekend of 2017, when nine-year-old Dreyton Simms drowned on a stretch of the Duck River in Shelbyville. He was swimming, when the strong current swept Simms away.
“It has been a danger spot for the last year,” said White. “We want to do some preemptive work and work with families and church groups, and whoever wants to come learn about this river.”
Jessie Beckett with Hook1 Outfitters is helping organize a class to teach the basics of water recreation safety.
“Tragedy can happen in a second,” Beckett said. “Anything we can do to just promote water safety in general. It's a beautiful asset to our community. We want people to enjoy the river, but be aware of the hazards.”
Last May, the local water rescue teams got six calls in one week on this stretch of the Duck River.
Class organizers say the majority of these calls could be avoided with basic training.
“Anyone that is interested in any part of the sport or enjoying the river in general can take something from this class,” said Beckett. “Whether you're a paddler, or you're just coming in to fish or to swim, you can take something away from it as far as education, as far as safety first.”
The class will be held Saturday, April 21. It will take place from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Anyone who wants to learn how to kayak, or just be in the Duck River safely is encouraged to attend.
For more information on how to sign up, click here.
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