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South Carolina Cautious About Boating Safety and DUI This Weekend

This Memorial Day Weekend, Boating Safety and DUI Top Priorities for SC Law Enforcement

Although a boating license requires less training than a driver’s license, boaters are still subject to implied consent DUI laws in South Carolina. This Memorial Day weekend, South Carolina law enforcement agencies are concerned about boating safety of all kinds, including boating DUI.

“There’s not a whole of formal training that goes into boating.  Just about anybody can go out and buy a boat and put it in the water and get underway,” Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialist 2nd Class Terence Klingele said.  “So for us to come along and educate the public on what they need to do to operate their boat safely — I think it goes a long way.”

A group in Charleston County called the Seahawk Interagency Operation Center – made up of the Coast Guard, the Charleston Police Department, Border Patrol, and South Carolina Constables – will be conducting boating safety checks this weekend, in part to ensure boaters have the proper safety equipment, and also to help prevent DUI-related boating accidents.

“People need to have their right lifesaving equipment and fire-fighting equipment and it all has to be serviceable and we need to make sure these vessels are safe so people can be safe while they’re out boating,” Coast Guard Sector Charleston Public Information Officer Lt. Tim McNamara said.

And, a Charleston Police Department vessel is testing a new technology to capture evidence on tape.

“It’s similar to the in-car videos that you would commonly see for DUI evidence,” Charleston Police Department Marine Patrol Supervisor Sgt. Chad Womack said.  “We put this on this vessel for a demonstration and we’re looking into the feasibility of actually using this.”

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division (DNR) will also return this year to conduct courtesy safety inspections at some boat landings.

Memorial Day Weekend is a notoriously busy boating weekend in South Carolina, as well as a great day for barbecues and drinking beer outside. The combination of beer and boats can lead to fatal accidents, so it is important that all boats on the waters are equipped with enough life jackets and fire extinguishers.

If you are on your boat this Memorial Day Weekend, and you suspect another boater of DUI or violating boating safety, you can contact the DNR toll-free at 1-800-922-5431. Their hotline is open 24 hours a day, so even late-night boating safety DUI calls will be reported and inspected.

Boating Safety and DUI in South Carolina

Your operation of a boat or other water device on the waters of South Carolina shows your consent to submit to chemical testing to determine your blood alcohol content. While the legal alcohol limit for driving is 0.08, boaters or sailors who have a blood alcohol level between .05 and .08 may be convicted for boating under the influence when deemed intoxicated based upon other tests such as a field sobriety test.

Penalties for Boating Under the Influence include:

  • jail time,
  • alcohol education programs, such as ADSAP,
  • community service,
  • job loss, and
  • suspension from operating a water vehicle for up to 2 years.

The Strom Law Firm Can Defend Against Charges Related to Boating Safety Violations and Boating DUI

If you are out this Memorial Day Weekend, enjoying South Carolina’s lakes and rivers, you could unintentionally violate some boating safety regulations. Please read up on the rules of boating safety in South Carolina before enjoying the open water. Also, if you operate a boat or have a boating license and intend to operate a boat, please be careful about how much you drink before boarding your vessel, as you could be arrested on boating DUI charges.

If you face charges of DUI or boating safety violations this weekend, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We have an in-depth understanding of complex laws around DUI and boating safety, and we will fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation. 803.252.4800.



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