ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – National Safe Boating Week kicks off on Saturday, and Lowcountry officials are sharing tips to keep in mind before heading out on the water.
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, there were 201 reported boating accidents and 21 boat fatalities in 2021.
Captain Michael Paul Thomas said to always check the boat’s safety equipment like the fire extinguisher. Make sure there are enough life jackets for everyone onboard and that they fit.
“Make sure that they are proper size, that they aren’t worn out. They may have been sitting up all winter. Make sure that they are serviceable,” said Thomas.
Another tip from Thomas – boaters should let friends and family know when they plan on returning from a boating trip, so they can call for help if the deadline is not met.
Thomas recommends the driver wears a kill switch to cut off power if they fall off the boat.
Officials are stressing the importance of sober boating. They said to always have a designated driver.
With more than 339,000 registered boats last year, officials said its important to be responsible on the water.
According to DNR, there have been 49 reported boat accidents this year. One of those involved 18-year-old Logan Wood.
Wood’s family knows all too well what it’s like to lose someone in a boating accident. The teen went missing back in January when he was out boating. His body was recovered a month later.
“As much as it hurts to have him gone, at least he was doing something he loved when it happened,” said close family friend Kimberly Ambrose.
On Saturday, his family is holding a memorial fishing tournament on what would’ve been his 19th birthday. The goal of the event is to raise money to buy safety equipment for other boaters in hopes of preventing this tragedy from happening again.
“You want take something terrible and make it positive. This is a way, in his name, we can honor him and bring everyone else’s family members home,” said Ambrose.
DNR is hosting several upcoming courtesy boat inspections. Click here for more information.