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New law increases distance limits between a boat, docks in many S.C. waters, prohibits wake surfing within 200 feet


March 17, 2022

Group of people on a moving boat A new law increases the distance limit for boating to 100 feet on most state waters and prohibits wake surfing within 200 feet on all S.C. waters. (RBFF photo)

A new law signed into effect March 14 by Gov. Henry Dargan McMaster establishes on most of South Carolina’s major reservoirs a new 100-foot distance limit that boats underway must observe when approaching a dock, a person in the water or an anchored vessel.

The new law, which doubles the previous distance of 50 feet, applies to the waters of 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. The 100-foot distance limit does not apply to Lake Moultrie.

The new law also prohibits “wake surfing” on all S.C. waters within 200 feet of a dock, a person in the water or an anchored watercraft. Wake surfing is defined in the new law as “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.”

Colonel A. Chisolm Frampton, SCDNR deputy director for law enforcement, said: “This is a much-needed change that will increase boating safety for all South Carolina boaters.”