“Tennessee: Governor Bill Lee Signs Model Wakesurfing and Wakeboarding Legislation” by WSIA Staff via WSIA Newsletter

“Tennessee: Governor Bill Lee Signs Model Wakesurfing and Wakeboarding Legislation” by WSIA Staff via WSIA Newsletter

Last week, representatives from the recreational boating industry – including NMMA, WSIA, Heyday, Indmar Marine Engines, and MasterCraft – joined Tennessee Governor Bill Lee for an official signing ceremony of the industry-backed model wakesurfing and wakeboarding legislation. The new law entered into force on July 1, 2022, and marks the first state to adopt the industry’s model legislation. 

“We appreciate the leadership of Governor Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly in passing this legislation,” said Lee Gatts, Director of Government Affairs for WSIA.

“This commonsense legislation enhances safety and maintains the ability for every user group to share the states’ waterways while alleviating environmental impact concerns.” 

Sponsored by Senator Ken Yager and Representative Dennis Powers, the bill enhances safety requirements for those engaging in wakesurfing and wakeboarding by:

  • Requiring operators to stay at least 200 feet away from all shorelines, docks, piers, or other structures. This means that a channel needs to be at least 400 feet in total width to be considered an appropriate area for these activities. 
  • Riders engaging in towed watersports must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Prohibits wakesurfing and wakeboarding between the hours of sunset and sunrise. 
  • Prohibits wakesurfing from a boat with an exposed (beyond boarding platform) propeller. Prohibits wakesurfing and wakeboarding on a body of water less than fifty (50) acres in size. 

“Working in the boating industry and being an avid boater and wakesurfer myself, I personally cannot thank the WSIA and the NMMA enough for stepping in and successfully amending a bill, that that was originally intended to ban wakesurfing in my home state, into a positive piece of legislation that maintains Tennessean’s waterway access rights and promotes safety,” explained Natalie Carrera, Director of Marketing for Indmar Marine Engines.

“I would also like to thank Governor Lee, Senator Yager and Representative Powers for passing legislation that ensures Tennessee waters may be shared and enjoyed for generations to come.”

For additional information or questions, please contact Lee Gatts at

About Water Sports Industry Association

The WSIA is the towed water sports industry’s leading advocate, known for preserving the vitality of our activities long into the future. As a group, we develop best practices, maintain waterway access rights, educate participants, promote safety and facilitate sustainable industry growth. Learn more about this outstanding organization by clicking on the following link:

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