Tips & tricks from boating pros on how to enjoy Riverbend on the water

Image: WTVC

Chattanooga's annual summer festival is aptly named Riverbend because it's hosted on the bend of the Tennessee River.

That means music lovers have an unconventional option when it comes to how to take in the festival.

We spoke with boating veterans Friday for their tips on how to do Riverbend by boat.

"Number one rule: bring sun glasses always," says Elizabeth Ballew.

Elizabeth Ballew is a veteran boater and employee at Cleveland Boat Center, but has never been to Riverbend before. She's taken the advice of her marine technician coworker Justin Ledford and has her seat scoped out - on a boat.

"You get a different perspective than everybody else," says Justin.

Elizabeth and Justin won't be alone out on the water.

After years of watching artists from the shore, Kelly and Thomas Smith made the switch to the Glass Slipper.

"We used to sit out on the land and I kept pointing out there and saying that's where I want to be," they said.

To keep the festival feeling like a fairytale, the Smith’s and other veteran boaters remind everyone to put safety first.

Related | What you need to know about the 2018 Riverbend Festival

The veteran boaters know there's a right way to do that and a wrong way: "Good anchor, lots of line," says Thomas.

"The way the current runs through here, you're likely to run into other boats and people," says Ledford.

Daniel Ortiz and Tammy Patil have avoided that for almost 14 years.

Their best advice for taking in the music on the water?

"Just hang out and have a good time, lots of good food, lots of good friends, and it's a good gathering place," says Patil.

If you're planning to enjoy the festival from the Tennessee River, make sure to follow these rules:

  • Boaters must use navigational lights and anchor lights
  • All vessels are required to have a Type B fire extinguisher
  • All vessels must have at least one wearable USCG-approved life jacket per person
  • Blood-alcohol content regulations -- 0.08 percent or higher -- apply to boaters and drivers

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off