How to stay safe on the water this Memorial Day weekend


It’s the memorial day weekend, the unofficial kick off to summer. And that means lots of time spent on beautiful waters. 

The Cypress Gardens boat landing was already packed Friday morning. Courtney Stills and her boyfriend spent time out in their boat. “We went out today and had fun. Didn’t catch anything, nothing was really biting today.”

Her boyfriend said safety is a big priority. “Have an anchor in case you break down. It’s pretty tidal in here. You won’t be able to stay still in case something happens. Stills added, “The current’s really strong.”

This is boating safety week in South Carolina. 1Sgt Brian Crawford with the SC Department of Natural Resources says the number one thing to remember is to have life jackets in your boat, but better yet, “We actually ask people to wear them when possible. They don’t work unless you have them on.”

Crawford says the larger, traditional life jacket, or even smaller versions can help in an emergency. 

“And then if you’re boating under the influence, if you’re gonna be out there, have a designated driver.”

The danger on the waters is real. Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury says that each year multiple people die on Berkeley County waterways due to boating accidents.

Crawford says it’ still important to get out there and enjoy the water. “We want everybody to go out and have fun, but we also want them to get back safe.”

There are also potential dangers just below the surface. “Well there’s stumps, floating stumps and Lake Moultrie definitely has a lot of points and stumps and rocks. You need to be familiar with where you’re going, kind of before you go.”

“Every vessel is required to have some sort of sound device. If you’ve got a gas tank that’s enclosed, you have to have a fire extinguisher. These are all pertinent safety tips that we will be checking out this weekend for Memorial Day.”

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