Boating Safety in South Carolina 

Heading out to the lake with a boat or sailing along the coast with friends or family is a summertime tradition that South Carolinians anticipate each year. Whether you are passionate about fishing or simply love to lounge around at sea, it is always important to stay safe while on the water.

It doesn’t matter how much experience you may have on a boat, accidents can happen at any time, to anyone. Therefore, it is a wise for you and your passengers to practice safety while boating in South Carolina.

While South Carolina does not require anyone to have a boating license to operate a boat, it is required that anyone under the age of 16 operating a boat must have a boater education card.

Obtain a Boater Education Card in South Carolina 

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) is the regulatory authority that issue boater education cards. Anyone over the age of 16 can legally operate a boat without any license or certification. However, those who are under the age of 16 (unless accompanied by an adult), must complete a boating safety course that is approved by the SCDNR. This is only for a boat or watercraft that is powered by more than 15 horsepower.

To receive your boater education card in South Carolina, you will need to complete a course or pass the approved equivalency test. Throughout the course, students are taught how to maintain and operate their boats. They also learn about the legal requirements in the state of South Carolina for boating, and what they should do in the event of an emergency.

There are a few different places where you can complete the boater education course and obtain your card: US Coast Guard Auxiliary, the US Power Squadron, or the SCDNR.

You can attend a class offered by any of these organizations. Courses can take as long as 8 hours to complete. A parent or guardian must accompany any student under the age of 12 while they take the course. Boater Education Cards are given at the end of class, or they are mailed to students. Regulators recognize the card that is issued after taking a classroom course in other states or most major insurance providers.

Online courses are available, and you can take a mail-in test after you have finished evaluating the study material. You may print a temporary card to use prior to receiving your permanent card in the mail. The card you receive is permanent, and there is no need to renew it. If a replacement is needed, you can get in touch with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

It is a law for everyone under the age of 16 to have a Boater Education Card, so you should carry the card with you at all times. Make sure that you have it in a safe place where you can access it easily if an enforcement officer requests to see it. Failure to carry your card with you could result in paying a fine, even if you successfully completed the safety course.

Be Aware of Boating Laws in South Carolina 

South Carolina has several boating laws and regulations to help keep everyone safe. To find out more about additional boating laws in the state, be sure to visit the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website. Some of these laws are:

  • In South Carolina, vessels must not be operated within 50 feet of an anchored vessel or within 100 yards of the Atlantic coast no more than idle speed.
  • All passengers must have a US Coast Guard approved Personal Floatation Device readily available
  • A hand-held portable fire extinguisher must be on board all boats that are less than 26 feet. Additional extinguishers are required for boats larger than that.
  • All navigation lights must be on between sunset and sunrise
  • All vessels in coastal waters must have flares on board
  • All boats that are less than 39.4 feet must have efficient sound-producing devices. Those that are between 39.4 up to 65.6 feet must have a whistle and a bell on board.

Carry Liability Insurance for Your Boat

Although it is not required by law for boaters to have liability insurance in South Carolina, it is highly recommended. A good liability insurance policy can help you avoid serious legal and financial troubles in the event of an accident while on your boat. Liability coverage can help cover the cost of medical bills and other fees if someone was injured while they were on your vessel.

Staying safe while on the water requires some knowledge of South Carolina Safety Laws and some common sense. Always check the weather forecast before you head out on the water. Stay alert at all times and be sure to steer clear of large vessels and restricted areas. Keeping everyone on board your boat safe will help ensure that you will have a fun and adventurous summer.

If you have questions, please contact Venus Poe today at 864-963-0310 or click here to fill out an online case evaluation form. We have offices in Greenville, South Carolina and Fountain Inn, South Carolina to better serve you. There is no obligation or charge for our initial consultation to see if we can help you with your accident case.

The information you obtain in this article is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.You should not read this article to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction in which you may have a case.