Sheriff Jay Koon

The Fourth of July is celebrated by friends and families around the country. It’s a time for Americans to fire up the grill, sport the flag, and grab a seat for a spectacular fireworks display. Many Lexington County residents will spend their holiday on the water and we want that time to be safe and enjoyable. Our Marine Patrol unit will be out patrolling the waterways ensuring that citizens are making smart choices on Lake Murray this weekend.

Before you head out on the lake to celebrate, freshen up on your water and boating safety knowledge with these tips from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources:

  1. All vessels must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable personal floatation device for each person on board. You will be ticketed if you do not have enough PFDs.
  2. Navigation lights must be illuminated on your boat between sunset and sunrise.
  3. When on the water, all boats approaching from the right have the right of way.
  4. Always anchor from the bow of the boat and pull the anchor before leaving.
  5. Make sure a fire extinguisher is readily accessible and in good serviceable condition.
  6. South Carolina law requires that boaters observe a “no wake zone” within 50 feet of a moored or anchored vessel, a wharf, pier or dock, or a person in the water.
  7. All motorized boats are required to have a current title and registration.
  8. Boaters under 16 are required by law to pass an approved boater education course before operating, without supervision, a personal watercraft (Jet Ski) or a boat powered by 15 hp motor or more.
  9. If your vessel capsizes, stay with the boat so you can be easily found.
  10. Help stop the spread of aquatic hitchhikers. Clean, drain and dry all boats, trailers and equipment every time.

Remember to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and call 911 in case of an emergency. Consume alcoholic beverages in moderation to prevent water tragedies. And to maximize fun this holiday, please don’t operate vessels under the influence.