SCDNR offers boating safety tips ahead of the holiday weekend

The two things officers stress are having life jackets on board and avoiding distracted driving

LAKE MURRAY, S.C. (WOLO) —For the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), it’s all hands on deck as more boats pepper waterways across the state. 

“We’re going to have everybody out here, and that’s not just on Lake Murray, that’s statewide. We want to make sure we have enough people because it’s a very busy holiday weekend, there’s going to be a lot of boats, a lot of traffic,” said Jason Smith, a Game Warden for SCDNR. 

One thing SCDNR says you should have on hand at all times is a Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on your boat.

“They need to fit the person. An adult life jacket won’t fit a child. A child jacket won’t fit an adult. It has to be rated for you,” Smith said. 

Another issue SCDNR says they encounter frequently on holiday weekends is distracted driving on the water.

“There’s a lot more things you’ve got to keep an eye on out here from all sides in the water, out of the water, and that’s why you don’t want to drink and drive, you want to have your full concentration, your full attention on everything,” said Smith.

Some boaters say the best way to avoid incidents on the water is just slowing down.

“Even if you know you’ve got the right of way, there’s no reason to play games. Just slow down and let the guy go ahead,” said Rob Forster, a boater from Irmo.

Even with all the safety tips they have to follow, some say it’s necessary for a safe and fun holiday weekend.

“At the end of the day, you’re the captain and you’re responsible for making sure everyone on board is safe,” Forster said.

For those who just bought a boat, DNR officers say you should complete a boater safety course before you go out on the water.

To see all the boat inspection sites across the state, view here.

Categories: Lexington, Local News, News