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New law increases boating and wake surfing distances in South Carolina

The new law increases the distance limit for boating to 100 feet and wake surfing to 200 feet.

SOUTH CAROLINA, USA — If you enjoy being on South Carolina waters, there are some new laws that you may want to know about. 

Governor Henry McMaster signed a new law that went into effect on Mar. 14. It establishes a new 100-foot distance limit that boats underway have to observe when approaching a dock, person in the water, or an anchored vessel on major South Carolina waters.

The law now doubles the previous distance of only 50 feet.

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South Carolina reservoirs the new law applies to:

  • 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
  • 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.

With the new law, wake surfing less than 200 feet of a dock, a person in the water, or an anchored watercraft is prohibited. 

According to the SC Department of Natural Resources, 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.”

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

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