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South Carolina Department
of Natural Resources

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New SC law addresses 'wake surfing' in all state waters

June 20, 2021

A new South Carolina boating law seeks to help protect people and structures from large wakes created by a popular water sport.

South Carolina law now prohibits “wake surfing” on all state waters within 200 feet of a dock, a person in the water or an anchored watercraft.

Wake surfing is defined in the law as operating “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.” That’s to say, to drive boats that are designed or set up to create a significant wake.

The new law comes amid increasing popularity in the activity as law enforcement and policymakers looked for ways to keep people and property safe.

Violation of this law is a misdemeanor and generally punishable by fines of about $100-$600, depending on court fees in each county jurisdiction. SCDNR regularly patrols state waterways to enforce applicable boating and fishing laws.

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