SCDNR cracks down on boating safety

Charleston County News

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officials say they are cracking down on boat drivers to make sure the waterways are safe.

“Operating a boat on the water is not like operating a car on the road. You don’t have breaks, you don’t have clear lines and right-a-ways to go,” says Major Billy Downer, Law Enforcement Division of SCDNR.

SCDNR reports more accidents as weather warms up and the pandemic continues.

“Majority of the accidents that we have all center around failure to maintain a proper lookout,” Major Billy Downer says.

Captains who have been on the water for years have seen it first hand.

“A motorboat came right in between us and another boat and it was a narrow corridor. I would say it was about like 10 feet and the boat went right in between us,” says Helgi Nati, a sailboat captain in Charleston.

DNR suggests checking your boat including the engine to prevent accidents.

“Your red and green light, your all around white light in the back being the most important lights so that people can see you from 360 degrees and making sure those lights work when you go out on the water,” Downer says.

The agency says they are offering free boat inspections on the waterways.

“It’s a good way for us to get with the public before they get on the water and say hey, these are the things we have noted before you get on the water, make sure you get enough life jackets, make sure you replace this one, or you get a fire extinguisher,” Downer says.

SCDNR encouragers boaters to take their free boating safety course they are offering both online and in-person.

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