Boaters beware of new water laws


By Heather Ruppe

Colleton boaters hitting the waterways this summer should be aware of new state laws that require idle speeds in most of South Carolina’s waters.

According to a law signed into effect on March 14 by S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, any boat in specific waters must run at idle speeds within 100-feet of a wharf, dock or pier. Idle speeds are also required within 50 feet of a person in the water or within 50 feet of an anchored boat.

These bodies of water include 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, or the portion of the Savannah River from the Interstate 20 Savannah River Bridge to the New Savannah River Bluff Lock and Dam.

In all other state waters, boaters are required to use idle speeds within 50 feet of a wharf, dock or pier or within 100 yards of the Atlantic Ocean coastline.

Any boater or jet ski operator who violates these idle speeds are guilty of a misdemeanor and could receive fines of $100-$600.

For information on boating regulations, education and boat ramp locations, visit


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