New law mandates young boaters to take education course

YORK COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – A new law may change the way some hit South Carolina waterways by boat.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed the Boating Safety and Education Bill into law on Thursday.

The new law mandates anyone born on or after July, 1st 2007 to pass a boating education course in order to operate certain watercrafts.

The hope is to reduce tragedies on the water.

The new law says if you are born on or after July 1st, 2007 and want to operate a boat with a 10-horsepower engine or greater you are mandated to pass a South Carolina DNR approved boating education course. Some exceptions do apply like those who have a license to operate a vessel issued by the U.S. Coast Guard, have a merchant mariner credential issued by the U.S. Coast Guard, are a nonresident in possession of a boating safety certificate or equivalency issued by another state, or those who are accompanied by a qualified boater of at least 18 years of age.

State officials say the bill does not apply to boaters on private lakes or ponds.

According to South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, there have been 10 boating deaths to date in 2023.

For Lake Enforcement Supervisor with the York County Sheriff’s Office, Nathan Clark, his team is busy on Lake Wylie during the summer months making sure boaters are being safe on the water.

“They are the same as a car, 3 – 4 thousand pound missile that you have moving across the water, they don’t operate the same as vehicles, not the same rules of the road, there’s no white lines, no yellow lines, you have to know how to safety operate the boat in order to avoid tragedies”, says Clark.

According to South Carolina officials DNR’s website will provide a list of approved boating safety courses, including one or more boat rental safety courses for those renting a vessel, personal watercraft, or specialty propcraft. A boat rental safety certificate is valid for thirty days.

The new law takes effect on August 18th and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says it will be giving boaters a grace period while people are learning about the new law. Once enforced, those who violate the law could be fined $50 to $300.

DNR offers free instructor-led boater education classes or you can pay for an online self-study option that’s around 40-dollars. To learn more, visit:

Previous articleCN2 Newscast – Murdaugh settlement, Boat Bill passed, & Changing NFL teams
Next articleCN2 Sports – LAX champs camp & team changes for hometown NFL players