Tennessee’s Life Jacket Laws
All boats, including canoes and kayaks, must be equipped with one, wearable life jacket for each person on board and for each person being towed on waterskis, etc. Boats 16 feet in length or over (except canoes and kayaks) must also be equipped with one Type IV (throwable) personal flotation device.
Children’s Life Jacket Law
In Tennessee, all passengers 12 years of age and under are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on the open deck of a recreational boat except when anchored, moored or aground.
Personal Watercraft (PWC) Life Jacket Law
Any person operating, riding on or being towed by a PWC is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved, Type I, II or III life jacket. Inflatable life jackets are not permitted on PWCs.
Note: When operating a boat near a dam, each person on board is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
Tennessee’s Muffler and Noise Level Laws
In Tennessee, the engines of all motorized boats must have an effective muffling system.
- The use of cut-outs is illegal.
- Manufacturers may not sell boats which do not meet the noise level requirements.
- The noise level of a motorized boat may not exceed 86 decibels at 50 feet or more.
Tennessee’s Waste Disposal Laws
Discharging untreated sewage into public water is prohibited in Tennessee. It is illegal to operate a boat which is capable of discharging untreated sewage.
Public waters are classified as either “Discharge Zones” or as “No Discharge Zones”.
“Discharge Zones” include: Barkley, Caulderwood, Cheatham, Chickamauga, Cordell Hull, Cumberland River, Ft. Loudon, Kentucky, McKellar, Melton Hill, Mississippi River, Nickajack, Old Hickory, Pickwick, Reelfoot, South Holston, Tellico, Tennessee River, and Watts Bar.
“No Discharge Zones” include: Beech River Lakes, Boone, Center Hill, Cherokee, Chilhowee, Dale Hollow, Douglas, Ft. Patrick Henry, Great Falls, J. Percy Priest, Lake Graham, Nolichucky, Normandy, Norris, Ocoee 1, 2, and 3, Tims Ford, Watauga, Wilbur, and Woods.
Note: Marinas and docks operating on public water must provide a sewage removal service.