Gov. McMaster signs boater safety bill

July 27, 2023


COLUMBIA, S.C. — Governor Henry McMaster, joined by state leaders, law enforcement officials, and families of boat accident victims, held a ceremonial bill signing of the South Carolina Boating Safety and Education bill (S.96) on Thursday at Lake Murray.

The law requires boaters born after July 1, 2007, to complete a boating safety course administered or approved by the Department of Natural Resources before operating a vessel with a 10-horsepower engine or greater.  

“By educating boaters and promoting responsible practices, we protect the lives of those who use our waterways and encourage more South Carolinians and visitors alike to enjoy South Carolina’s endless natural treasures,” said Governor Henry McMaster.

The law excludes boaters with a license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard or a boating safety certificate from another state. The law does not apply to boaters on private lakes or ponds.

“This law helps ensure there is a balance between recreation and responsibility on our waters,” said SCBFA President and CEO Gettys Brannon. “We applaud the collaborative work of the state legislature, state agencies, the families impacted, and industry leaders to ensure our state’s waters a safer and more enjoyable place.”

“Knowledge of boater safety is not something you pick up unless you really study it,” said South Carolina State Senator Chip Campsen, who authored the bill.

The law takes effect on August 18.

For more information on which courses are administered and accepted visit the SCDNR website. 



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