Tennessee River, Cumberland River, Kentucky Lake, and Lake Barkley closed to recreational boating

PADUCAH, Ky. – The U. S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Ohio Valley, under authority of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, reduced the safety zone on the Tennessee River, Tuesday, to the stretch between the Highway 68 Bridge (mile marker 41.7) through Paducah, Ky. (mile marker 0), including portions of Kentucky Lake. The Cumberland River remains closed in the vicinity of Carthage, Tenn. (mile marker 313.6) to Smithland, Ky. (mile marker 0), including Lake Barkley.

Heavy rain falls over the past weekend throughout the Tennessee Valley have necessitated record high water discharge rates from dams along both river systems, creating hazardous river conditions for recreational vessels.

The dangers created by these high discharge rates are many, including swift river currents, heavy debris flows, spilled hazardous materials, and submerged objects including break walls, boat docks, and piers. These extreme flows have also made the navigation buoys in the area unreliable.

Because of these dangers, all recreational vessels are restricted from operating in these areas to include bays, creeks and tributaries until the safety zone is lifted. The water levels and river conditions are being evaluated several times daily by local, state, and federal agencies.

Persons found in violation of the safety zones can be fined under U.S. Code 33. The maximum penalty for violating a safety zone is $32,500.00.

These hazardous conditions are anticipated to exist through May 10, 2010.

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