Towards the end of summer, and into the fall, people are beginning to wind down on the use of their “ summer boats.” However, this does NOT mean that some people still don’t go out on the lake during the fall, especially in the Lake Wylie Area.
What is important to remember is that even during the fall season, you must be prudent while operating your boat. In other words, just like you cannot drink and drive, you also cannot drink and operate a boat.
Here are some of the most common regulations one needs to know when operating a boat in South Carolina:
Personal Flotation Devices:
All recreational vessels must have one Type I, II or III PFD of a suitable size for each person aboard and each skier being towed. In addition, recreational vessels 16 feet and over must also have one throw-able Type IV PFD.
Required PFDs must be readily accessible.
Speed Limits and Reckless Operation:
Although local conditions may warrant the imposition of definite limitations on speed of vessels, a general speed limit is that which is implied in safe vessel operation under existing circumstances. Speed which is excessive under the circumstances, and which endangers persons or property, is one form of reckless operation which is prohibited by South Carolina boating law.
Watercraft entering, leaving or passing within 50 yards of a state-owned or controlled boating and fishing access area must do so at “no-wake” speed.
No person shall operate any motorboat or vessel, or manipulate any water skis, surfboard, or similar device in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger life, limb or property of any person.
The State of South Carolina adopts and enforces all Federally mandated boating safety laws.
Every vessel operating in the State of South Carolina shall carry and use safety equipment in accordance with U. S. Coast Guard requirements as specified in the Code of Federal Regulations. Additionally, every vessel shall display the lights and shapes required by the navigation rules.
Diving and Snorkeling:
All divers, in waters open to boating, shall display a divers flag (red with white diagonal stripe) in the area in which the diving occurs. They may not display the flag when not engaged in diving or at any location where it will unreasonably obstruct navigation. Boaters should stay at least 50 feet away from a diver-down flag.
No person shall tow a person on water skis, surfboards or similar device:
- In a reckless and dangerous manner
- While under the influence of an impairing substance
- Where the direction or location of the device may be manipulated or controlled from the boat so as to cause the person being towed to collide with any object or person
Water Skiing is prohibited between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. The vessel towing the skier shall be equipped with a rear vision mirror or carry an observer (not the boat operator), or the person being towed is wearing a PFD.
Any accident involving death, disappearance or personal injury beyond first aid, or damage greater than $500 must be reported. Death, disappearance and injury cases must be reported within 48 hours. Other accidents must be reported within 10 days. Accidents should be reported to the Wildlife Resources Commission on a form provided by them.
Boating While Intoxicated:
No person shall operate any motorboat or vessel, or manipulate any water skis, surfboard or similar device while under the influence of an impairing substance, nor operate any motor vessel after consuming alcohol sufficient to cause a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater.
All vessels operated on the waters of South Carolina must be numbered except:
- Vessels documented by the United States Bureau of Customs or any federal agency successor thereto
- Foreign vessels using North Carolina waters temporarily
- Vessels owned by the United States Government or by a state, county or municipality
- Vessels used exclusively as life boats
- Sailboats not over 14 ft. in length at the load waterline
- Vessels with no means of propulsion other than drifting or manual paddling, poling or rowing
- Vessels with a current number from another state or country temporarily using North Carolina waters. (Less than 90 consecutive days.)
The Certificate of Vessel Number must be onboard when the vessel is in use. The vessel’s number must be painted or permanently affixed on the forward half of each side of the vessel.
Thusly, If you or a loved one has been charged with a BWI, or one of these various safety regulations, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999B for help with your case.