SCDNR shares safety tips as boating season starts

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. Hundreds spent the long holiday weekend, out on the water. But already this year, the Department of Natural Resources said six people have died on South Carolina waters.

During holiday weekends, Lake Hartwell can get pretty busy. In fact, DN reports that a dozen boating accidents occur per year on the lake. To help prevent those situations, you’ll see DNR officers on both the SC and GA sides patroling the waters.

Now these officers aren’t here to ruin your fun, but rather protect those on board. If stopped, officers will check for your registration, life jackets, and fire extinguisher. But depending on your boat’s size and the people aboard, the regulations can change.

”For four people on a boat say 16 feet you need Type 4 throwable personal flotation device square with handles and the ring buoy that looks like a lifesaver candy with the ropes around it,” said Lance Corporal Shawn Hanna with SCDNR.

While out swimming, Hanna warns to beware of low water areas. He said the lake is about seven feet lower than normal. So an area that is normally deep could be quite shallow right now.

The big piece of advice from Hanna is to just pay attention. He said if boaters just watch their speed and be aware of their surroundings almost all boating accidents can be preventable.

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