** Archived Article - please check for current information. **
January 8, 2016Boater education a top concern for the public
Results of a recent series of public meetings on boating safety hosted by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) indicates that education is the principal issue on the minds of the public. Both forum and online respondents agreed with the statement that, "Boating education should be required for an individual to operate a boat."
Another important issue raised at each forum was the need for more officers on the water enforcing boating laws. Participants also noted that, to be effective, any change in boating laws will likely need to be accompanied by an increase in the overall number of enforcement officers. Other topics frequently cited by the public were boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, wake zones, buoys (DNR and private) and nighttime speed and vessel lighting.
A comprehensive summary (PDF) of the meetings and survey is available.
The South Carolina Senate instructed DNR to conduct public hearings and gather input regarding boating safety concerns to utilize the information gathered to make recommendations to the Senate to improve recreational boating safety. Six meetings were held across the state in Manning, Conway, Charleston, Clover, Clemson, and Chapin. The agency hired a professional facilitator from Clemson University to conduct the forums. Comments at each forum were recorded and transcribed by a professional court reporter. Additionally, a survey was administered at the beginning of every forum and online via the DNR website.