Starting next month, South Carolina will implement a new law requiring some of the state’s teens to complete a boating safety course. From August 18th onwards, anyone born after July 1, 2007, must take and pass an approved course from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) before operating a motorized vessel of 10 horsepower or more alone.
“This bill has garnered support from many, including those who have lost loved ones and wanted to see it pass,” said Major Billy Downer from the DNR.
Initially, the law won’t impact many South Carolina boaters. However, over time, an increasing number of individuals on the state’s waterways will need to be certified, according to Downer.
“This gradual approach allows people to adapt to the change. Eventually, all boaters will be required to complete boater education, following the example of dozens of other states across the country. We believe this will be a valuable learning tool for the future,” Downer expressed.
To facilitate the education process, the DNR offers free in-person courses throughout the state. Additionally, boaters can also take online courses at a cost of approximately $40.
During these courses, boaters will learn the essential principles of safe and responsible boating, including the rules of the waterways, which lack the familiar yellow and white lines found on roads.
“We teach boaters how to navigate, pass other boats, and maintain a proper lookout. These are crucial skills to prevent accidents, which are often caused by failure to pay attention and excessive speed,” explained Major Downer.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) offers two options to take the Boater Education Course:
- Instructor-led Classes: The preferred Boater Education method is through a free six-hour instructor-led classroom course. Classes are generally offered in a one-day format. All classes end with a Test to pass the course. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons® also provide classes throughout the state. These classes are offered for a minimal fee. Many of these courses can be found on the Boating Course Calendar.
- Online Self-Study Course: The complete Boat South Carolina course with exciting visualsis available online. Interactive graphics help you learn and retain information on boating safely in South Carolina. Successfully complete the online test, and you will receive a State of South Carolina boating safety certificate by mail. You pay $39.95—one time only, after you pass the final test. SCDNR will accept any internet-based boating safety course approved by National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrators.
The BoatUS Foundation’s Online Course is the only FREE Online Boating Safety Course approved by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. You can enroll yourself in a Boating Safety Course from the Course Catalog, study and pass the FREE Boating Safety Course, and print out your certificate of completion yourself for free.
With this new boating safety requirement, South Carolina aims to enhance boater knowledge and ensure the safety of everyone enjoying the state’s beautiful waterways.