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Sailor Watch Those Boat Drinks

South Carolina residents can be seen soaking up the sun and enjoying the recent beautiful weather outside all across the state this spring.

Daytime temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s have made outdoor activities more enjoyable for locals. Although the summer season does not officially start until after the solstice in June, the warmer-than-usual weather has encouraged many South Carolinians to venture outside, that is if you can stand the pollen.

South Carolina is home to 12 lakes and nearly 200 miles of coastline. Because of South Carolina’s geographic location and temperate weather, water activities like boating, sailing, and water skiing are popular in the Palmetto State. While water safety may be the last thing on your mind, an unexpected accident can happen anywhere, and you need to make sure that you are prepared.

South Carolina law sets forth very specific rules and regulations that must be followed while enjoying certain water pastimes. To avoid penalties and fines, take a few moments to review our pre-departure checklist before setting off on your next boating trip:

Required Equipment

  • Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)- 1 U.S. Coast Guard approved flotation device for each person on board or being towed;
  • SC law requires all children under 12 to wear a lifejacket while on boat less than 16 feet long;
  • Navigation Lights;
  • Fire Extinguisher;
  • Sound-Producing Device, i.e. whistle or horn; and a
  •  Visual Distress Signal, i.e. orange smoke or red flare

Drinking and Boating

Everyone loves a cold drink when you are out on Lake Murray or Lake Wateree. But did you know that in South Carolina, boating under the influence, or BUI, violations carry similar penalties to those of drinking under the influence, or DUI?

In fact, you can be arrested for boating, sailing, or simply being in control of your boat or jet ski while under the influence, and you are subject to the same laws of implied consent that also affect drivers on the roadways.

Although your consent is implied, you still have the right to refuse to submit to a field sobriety test as well as a BAC or other chemical test.

While the legal limit for operating a car or boat in South Carolina is a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08, boaters who have a blood alcohol level between .05 and .08 may be arrested for boating under the influence when deemed intoxicated based upon other tests such as a field sobriety test.

However, it is important for you to know that being arrested for boating under the influence does not mean that you are guilty or that you do not have a defense. If you or a family member has been charged with BUI, contact our criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.

Enjoy this weather and play it safe out there.

The boating under the influence attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. include a former United States Attorney, a former public defender, a former Assistant Attorney General and Richland County Assistant Solicitor, as well as a tax lawyer familiar with IRS criminal investigations. The Strom Law Firm aggressively defends individuals on all criminal charges in all State and Federal Courts in South Carolina as well as the Federal Courts in Georgia.



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