President of Lake Murray Association calling for tougher boating - - Columbia, South Carolina

President of Lake Murray Association calling for tougher boating laws


On Saturday, dozens gathered for a somber kick-off to National Safe Boating Week.

"A life jacket, you know, in a boat would have saved a life," said Starnes Warren.

It was an emotional memorial full of tears and painful memories.

"His daddy was his mentor," Warren said. "He coached him in football, basketball, and baseball from the time he was able to stay up."

But being here was a must for Susie Starnes Warren and her son Laniel.

Her husband, his father, drowned on a fishing trip in the Upstate back in 2010.

Laniel was there.

"He went up under the water and was pushing his daddy up and pulling him," Warren said. "My husband looked at him and said, 'Go on. I love you.' Laniel turned around and swam away from his daddy."

Warren is just one being remembered today.

DNR said 83 have died in South Carolina waterways from 2010 to 2013.

"It's time that we stand up and be heard," said Andy Hyman with the Lake Murray Association.

Hyman made his stand by calling for three changes to the law.

Number one is mandatory boater education.

"Legally, there's nothing you would have to do," Hyman said. "Get under the steering wheel and take off across the lake."

Number two would be stricter BUI penalties.

"We hear just horror stories of just five years for a boating under the influence conviction where there was a death, but at the same time, if you did that in an automobile, you may spend 25 years in prison," Hyman.

Number three would be life jacket requirements.

Something Sandie Craig is pushing for too.

"On January 22, 2011, my husband had a boating accident," Craig said. "He was boating alone. He did not have a life jacket on, and there was a lake advisory that day."

Scotty Craig's body was found in Lake Thurmond 30 days later.

So now Sandie is donating life jackets to loaner boards at lakes across the state.

And on each one of them, you'll find signatures from people like Laniel Warren.

A reminder from the boy who lost his mentor, his fishing buddy, his dad.

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