SCDNR warns boaters of updated law on keeping distance on water

SCDNR idle speed
SCDNR idle speed(SCDNR)
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 1:50 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is warning boaters and watercraft users hitting the water this summer to be aware of changes to state law this year.

We’re told Governor Henry McMaster signed a law into effect on March 14 that says no one shall operate a watercraft or vessel while in excess of idle speed within 100 feet of a wharf, dock, bulkhead, or pier or fifty feet of a moored or anchored vessel or person in the water. This refers to boaters on the following bodies of water:

  • Lake Greenwood
  • Lake Hartwell
  • Lake Jocassee
  • Lake Keowee
  • Lake Marion
  • Lake Monticello
  • Lake Murray
  • Lake Robinson
  • Lake Russell
  • Lake Secession
  • Lake Thurmond
  • Lake Wateree
  • Fishing Creek Reservoir
  • Parr Reservoir
  • The portion of Savannah River from the Interstate 20 Savannah River Bridge to the New Savannah River Bluff Lock and Dam

In all other waters of South Carolina, boaters must not drive in excess of idle speed within 50 feet of a moored or anchored vessel, wharf, dock, bulkhead, pier, or person in the water, or within 100 yards of the Atlantic Ocean coastline.

The law mentioned this applies to boats, jet skis, and other personal watercraft.

Violations of this law are a misdemeanor and generally punishable by fines of about $100-$600, depending on court fees in each county jurisdiction.

The new law also prohibits “wake surfing” on all South Carolina waters within 200 feet of a dock, a person in the water or an anchored watercraft. Wake surfing is defined in the new law as “a vessel that is ballasted in the stern so as to create a wake that is, or is intended to be, surfed by another person.”

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