Boating Safety & Accidents

Have fun but be safe.

Boating Safety & Accidents

Boating is a privilege.

Boating on SC waterways and rivers are just like driving a vehicle, a privilege. Rules and regulations are in place to ensure not only your boating safety but others as well.

Boating safety is of the utmost importance, we want you to have a good time but practice safety. Watch your speed, be aware of your surroundings, and know the basic boating safety rules. 95 percent of boating accidents are caused from operator inexperience. Be aware of jet ski's, they are popular on SC waterways, are small, fast and highly maneuverable.

In 2016, 23 people died on South Carolina's waters in boating-related accidents. In 91 percent of these accidents, drowning was the cause of death. While wearing a personal flotation device will not prevent a boating accident, it will give you a much better chance of surviving if you end up in the water.

Drinking and Boating

South Carolina law prohibits anyone from operating a moving motorized vessel or vessel under sail on the waters of the state while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or combination thereof.

There are tough fines, jail time and boating suspensions for anyone that violates this law. Alcohol was the primary cause of 8 boating accidents in South Carolina for 2016. This resulted in 3 fatalities. All of these could have been prevented. Let's all work together to keep the waters safe. If you must drink, please have a designated driver. Be safe, boat sober.

SC DNR Boating Safety Video

SC DNR Patrol

The Law Enforcement Division of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), along with the US Coast Guard, patrol the area waterways to ensure your safety. They have the right to stop and board vessels to check for compliance with federal and state laws.

SC DNR Patrol Boat
If you operate a vessel in SC waters, by law, you are giving "implied consent" to a chemical test or analysis of your breath, blood or urine.