With Memorial Day coming up on Monday, many Charlestonians will be celebrating the holiday on one of our many beautiful waterways. Boats can just as dangerous as car accidents, if not more so, thus this weekend presents a perfect opportunity to brush up on South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ laws and regulations for boating, and review some boat safety tips for yourself.
1. Make sure EVERYONE in the boat has a life jacket.
While it’s not required that all passengers wear the lifejackets all the time, you must always have one on board for every single passenger.
2. Check the weather.
South Carolinians know better than anyone just how quickly the weather can change. Don’t get stuck in a storm. My Radar is a great app from NOAA to help track clouds and incoming storms.
3. Consider a boating safety course.
Beginner and advanced boaters can always benefit from a boater safety course. It may take a couple of hours, but isn’t the safety of you and your passengers worth it?
4. Check your fuel and battery.
Nothing is worse than running out of gas on the water and having to call someone to tow you to the nearest marina. A quick check of the fuel levels (and the rest of your equipment, like lights and fire extinguisher) before you depart can make a huge difference, especially if you are planning on a long day out on the water.
5. Don’t drink and boat!
Boating Under the Influence is a crime just like DUI. The only difference is that it’s much harder to pass Field Sobriety Tests while on a moving boat! Be smart; don’t drink and boat, and always remember that alcohol can have a more profound and dangerous effect when boating.