Lake safety often the responsibility of private property owners

If you live near a lake, you may think the government takes care of it and patrols it. It most cases you'd be wrong, according to Tennessee Wildlife officials, because many are private property.
Theodore Kirksey is part of the Robco Lake Patrol, a group of residents who've taken it upon themselves to enforce the rules of the water.

"We encourage them to go by the stickers on their boat, what they're rated for," he said. "And to have life jackets. We encourage everybody to have life jackets."
Wednesday's tragedy at Robco Lake is something Kirksey has feared. He said people often get so involved in the fun they're having they forget safety sense.

"It should be mandatory for people selling boats to say 'take a course in safety before you take the boat,'" he said.
Tennessee Wildlife patrols state and public owned waterways only.  That means if you want them on your lake, you have to give up control, and that makes the lake public property.

Kirksey said his association meets next week, and what happened Wednesday will be discussed, as will how to best educate boaters about safety.

Friday, police said all six children in the boat were not wearing life jackets.

Meanwhile, the investigation into Wednesday's accident continued Friday.  A spokesperson for the DA's office would not comment on the case, but said since no one involved is a direct threat to the community, the case would likely go to a grand jury.

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You can watch Action News 5's continuing coverage of the Robco Lake tragedy via the video player to the right of this story.