With the population of South Carolina on the rise, the amount of boaters hitting the water is also increasing. You may be wondering, how does that affect me?
South Carolina has consistently ranked in the top 10 states for registered boaters. That should come as no surprise when we have 3,000 miles of coastline. Last year, there were about 485,000 registered boats.
Well, with the sudden increase of new boaters also comes an influx of inexperienced boaters. There are many people operating boats with little or no experience at all. If a person is over 18 years old, they aren’t required to take any type of water safety courses. Only those under 16 must complete a DNR-approved boating course.
DNR compiled some boating safety statistics for last year and the results were somewhat shocking. There were approximately 127 boating accidents in 2014 that resulted in 91 injuries and a whopping 15 fatalities.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the primary cause of those accidents were operator inattention and operator inexperience. Those who had no boater education were involved in accidents resulting in 60 out of 91 injuries and 11 of the 15 fatalities.
Since these statistics have been released, DNR plans to hold public meetings around the state to try to get some input on boating regulations for our state.
If you’re interested in taking part of any of these public meetings, here is a list of the dates and locations. All meetings begin at 7 PM.
July 28: FE Dubose Center — Auditorium — 3351 Sumter Highway, Manning
Aug. 6: Horry Georgetown Technical College — Auditorium — 2050 East Highway 501, Conway
Aug. 11: Fort Johnson Marine Center — Auditorium — 217 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston
Aug. 13: Crowders Creek Elementary School — Auditorium — 5515 Charlotte Highway, Clover
Aug. 25: DNR Clemson Office — Auditorium — 311 Natural Resources Drive, Clemson
Sept. 8: Center for Advance Technical Studies — Auditorium — 916 Mount Vernon Church Road, Chapin