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New South Carolina boating laws could result in misdemeanor

The law increases the distance between boats, docks and other vessels.

LEXINGTON, S.C. — Boating season is in full swing, and just in time for the season, there's a new law that boaters need to be aware of to avoid getting fined on the water. 

Previously, the law required boats in motion to stay 50 feet away from other boats or the dock. The new law doubles that distance, requiring boats in motion to stay 100 feet away. 

The rule also applies to keeping that distance from people and jet-skiers on the water.

At Lake Murray, a local marina owner said this new law might not be enough.

"While that 100 feet is a good distance going 10, when they’re going 30 or more, they need to have more distance because that dock restricts their visibility, and someone could pull out and they not see them until it’s too late," Jake's Landing owner Archie Trawick said.   

RELATED: Proposed legislation aims to increase boater safety in South Carolina

With these new laws, there are consequences if the laws are not followed.

"It can do property damage, but if somebody’s on the boat or dock and the dock moves violently, then the person can fall in the water, fall on the dock," Trawick said. 

Consequences can also pack a punch in the pocket. In South Carolina, the SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) could issue a fine of up $600 plus a misdemeanor charge. 

A new Lexington County resident said these consequences are in our best interest. 

"Anything that would keep you safe out here is probably a good thing," Christopher Diamond said. 

These new laws apply to specific bodies of water listed in the law -  a portion of the Savannah River and most major reservoirs in the state with the exception of Lake Moultrie. The 50-foot limit remains in place for all other state waters. 

However, the wake surfing provision in the law applies to all state waters without exception.

RELATED: New law increases boating and wake surfing distances in South Carolina

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