TVA Urges Boaters and Fishermen to Stay Away From Dangerous Waters

Oct 22, 2010, 16:34 ET from Tennessee Valley Authority

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A recent boating incident at Wheeler Dam in Decatur, Ala., is an important reminder that water being discharged from powerhouses and spillways on the Tennessee River system can be extremely dangerous.



Three fishermen were pulled to safety Wednesday, Oct. 20, and lucky to be alive several hours after their fishing boat was caught in turbulent water near a hydro-generating unit at Wheeler Dam. The boat sank Tuesday night at the base of the dam's powerhouse.

Wheeler Dam is equipped with a tailwater warning system. When activated, warning horns and strobe lights warn of the rapidly rising water and turbulence. Signs also warn boaters of the dangers.

"To be safe, boaters and fisherman should not get close to the base of the dams. It is a very dangerous place to be," said John McCormick, senior vice president of TVA River Operations. "An enjoyable day of fishing can quickly turn tragic if boaters and fisherman don't heed the warnings and get caught in rising, turbulent waters that are being discharged from below the dams."

Anyone who sees unsafe activities can contact TVA Police at 800-824-3861 or their local law enforcement agencies.

For more information about avoiding the dangers surrounding dams, locks, and powerhouses go to:

The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia – an area of 80,000 square miles with a population of 9 million. TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities and supplies up to 36,000 megawatts of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines. TVA also provides flood control, navigation, land management and recreation for the Tennessee River system and works with local utilities and state and local governments to promote economic development across the region. TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVA's service territory are below the national average.

SOURCE Tennessee Valley Authority