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Boat Trailer Parking

See Parking on the Amenities page.

Boater Safety & Education

Last updated September 4, 2020 
 
 
Here are some Tennessee boating regulations that might not be the same in all states:   
 
#1 The Move Over law similar to the law on land will become effective on Tennessee waters.  The law requires boaters to slow down to a no wake speed when they are within 100 feet of a law enforcement boat with flashing lights.
 
#2 There is No longer an exemption from boating education for renters or those vacationing. Tennessee residents and Out of State residents born after January 1, 1989 are required to pass a boater education exam administered by an approved representative of the TWRA or a National Association of State Boating Law Administrator approved boating safety course in order to operate any motorized vessel over 8.5 horse power. Testing locations and information can be found on the TWRA website.  Courses are also offered by the USCG Auxiliary and America’s Boating Club.
 
#3 Alcoholic beverages are permitted on Norris Lake however the boat operator often referred to as the “Skipper” must be sober. Considering the effect of the sun, stress of a busy lake, wind, motor noise, level of hydration, and distractions from passengers, it is taught that each alcoholic beverage has double the effect than normal. Many laws now read:  the boat operator may not operate or permit others to operate while Boating under the influence. The same applies to reckless operation, adherence to no wake zones, etc.  Everyone should be careful who they allow to use their boat. 
 
#4 Reckless operation of a boat or a Personal Watercraft (“PWC”) will attract the attention of law enforcement and other boaters due to the risk of personal injury and property damage. Make sure you review the Handbook of Tennessee Boating Laws and Responsibilities because there are specific rules relating to Personal Watercraft.  Some of these are: the age of the PWC operator; restrictions on when a PWC can be operated - daytime only; and restrictions on wake jumping (wake jumping is not legal within 100 feet of another vessel).
 
#5 The age requirement for wearing life jackets is 12 and younger. Regardless of age, the life jacket must fit the activity and wearer. Each person aboard must have at least one USCG approved life jacket readily available to them. Boats 16’ in length and over must also have at least one USCG approved throwable device. It is common for children to outgrow their life jacket each year. Test fit them before heading to the lake. Short term loaner life jackets may be available from the SB Mariner’s Club or other boaters.
 
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is a great resource.  Their link is:  TN.gov/TWRA
 
Other helpful links for information about boating:
 

Boat & Water Craft Registration

Boat & water craft registration are handled by the Union County Clerk's Office.

Life Jackets

Life Jackets
 
 
There are a few great reasons to share this link.  One is the timely mention about cleaning life jackets as associated with Covid 19.  Cleaning life jackets makes them last longer.  One of the better cleaning agents is Dawn or Dreft.  Being gentle is a good approach.
 
The second is to remind all boaters regardless how well we swim to wear a life jacket as we get started with launching our boats, performing sea trials or chasing spring fish.   Just a few a weeks ago (April 2020) we lost a local female boater and almost her husband who tried to save her.  He was hospitalized and we are not sure of the outcome for him but if he lived we are sure he is suffering the loss of his wife. Admittedly we don’t have the specific facts about the mishap. We can easily glean based on historic information that neither boater was wearing a life jacket and both were likely affected by the cold water temps and couldn’t swim.  These are all too common stories and they don’t have to end this way. Had they been wearing life jackets they both would likely have survived. 
 
The surface water temp has been as warm as high 60’s while we have been fishing but just a few inches below the surface the temperature is considerably lower.  Low enough that the initial shock of plummeting into the water would cause someone to gasp for air, take in water instead, and drown.  If one didn’t take in water, muscles don’t work as well when they are in 40-50 degree water below the surface. 
 
As boating season comes upon us remember that hypothermia contributes to drowning but life jackets can prevent a fatality. As always, contact Matthew Murphy if you need assistance or have questions for safety practices on the water.
 
 
 

Norris Lake

Norris Lake, Tennessee
Norris Lake is a reservoir that is located in Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger and Union Counties in Tennessee. The lake was created by the Norris Dam at the Cove Creek Site on the Clinch River in 1936 by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for flood control, water storage, and hydroelectric power. Norris Dam and its reservoir were the first major project taken on by the TVA. The lake, the dam, and the town of Norris, Tennessee are named for George W Norris, who was a U.S. Senator from Nebraska and who wrote the legislation that created the TVA.
 
Coordinates 36.13°N 84.05°W
Primary inflows: Clinch River
Primary outflows: Clinch River, Powell River
Max. length: 206 mi (332 km)
Max. width: 1.2 mi (1.9 km)
Surface area: 53.875 sq mi (137 km2)
Average depth: 75 ft (23 m)
Max. depth: 210 ft (64 m)
Shore length: 809 mi (1,302 km)
Surface elevation: 1,020 ft (310 m)
 
 

Towing

Boat US - use this link to become a member, coordinate towing, pay your membership, and many other things  https://www.boatus.com/
 
Tow Boat US - this article has information specific to Norris Lake

Vessel Safety Checks

9/21/18
 
Have you had your boat inspected for safety this year?  If not, it is not too late, and I need to complete five this year.  
 
A fellow boater and property owner I, Matt Murphy, am a Vessel Safety Examiner at your service. I live full time in Sunset Bay with my wife Debbie. I have been performing vessel safety inspections for over a decade but with the recent move to Sunset Bay, I am behind in my inspections.  Put me to work!
 
If you are not familiar, organizations such as the USCGAux and the United States Power Squadron members perform this work as volunteers and non-law enforcement. It is absolutely free. The process is educational in nature and if you pass I award the decal. If you don't I simply give you a list of what you need.  Depending upon the boat the process takes 20-30 minutes. It is the same decal that the Coast Guard Aux. awards. I still have a supply of decals and forms available for this boating season.  I would be happy to meet you at Sunset Bay Marina or come to your dock by appointment.  Please contact me if interested and feel free to share with other boaters. 
 
Matthew G Murphy
United States Power Squadron
614-886-6732
 
More info about the VSC process www.safetyseal.net or  www.USPS.org.