Veteran drowns in Tennessee's Percy Priest Lake over Memorial Day weekend

State wildlife officials said a man lost his life over the three-day Memorial Day weekend in an incident on Percy Priest Lake.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reported one boating-related fatality for the holiday weekend period that ended at midnight Monday. The fatality occurred Saturday afternoon when a 43-year-old man, identified by wildlife officials as a military veteran, drowned in Percy Priest Lake after entering the water from an anchored vessel. Authorities are continuing to investigate, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials said Tuesday in a news release.

The victim's name was not released.

There were no other accidents involving serious injuries reported across the state, officials said, but there were two property damage incidents, both in the Cumberland Plateau region.

State wildlife officers made 14 boating under the influence arrests, five of them in Middle Tennessee and five others in the Cumberland Plateau region, according to the release. There were three boating under the influence arrests made in East Tennessee and one in West Tennessee, officials said, and wildlife officers assisted several stranded boaters.

"Impaired boat operation continues to occur on our waterways and is a leading contributing factor in boating incidents," Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Lt. Col Matt Majors said in the release. "Our officers are always on alert for those who compromise the safety of others through impaired or reckless boating, both of which are 100% preventable crimes"

Wildlife officers saw fewer boaters this year due to cooler temperatures and rain in some areas of the state, according to state officials. In 2022, over the Memorial Day weekend, there were two fatalities and 25 boating under the influence arrests, according to wildlife officials.

Contact Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569.

Upcoming Events