After deadly 2019, Midlands law enforcement stresses boat safety

Updated: May. 22, 2020 at 8:33 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - As the weather warms, boaters are returning to South Carolina’s waterways.

They're bringing risk with them.

In 2019, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources reported 14 boating deaths and 146 recreational boating accidents. The SCDNR, the Lexington County Sheriff's Department and the Richland County Sheriff's Department held a joint media session Friday to remind boaters of safety procedures they should follow.

Lexington County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Capt. Adam Myrick said boaters should do the following, among other procedures:

  • Take a boating safety course
  • Check the weather before embarking
  • Communicate to a loved one on land where the boaters are going and when to expect them home.

“If something does happen, it gives first responders at least a starting point or an area where we can try and find you,” he said.

Myrick said sheriff's office employees and Lexington County EMS medics will be patrolling the water if assistance is needed.

As of 2019, the DNR had 31,834 registered boats in Lexington County and 3,482 personal watercraft. There were seven accidents in the county, resulting in two injuries and no fatalities that year.

In Richland County, the DNR reported 15,753 registered boats in 2019. There were 1,279 personal watercraft. In that year, there were five boating accidents, resulting in one injury and three deaths.

Jakes Landing Owner Archie Trawick said he has lived near Lake Murray for roughly 50 years and the boaters in the area could be safer with more patience.

“I keep learning new lessons. You keep thinking you seen it all and people keep figuring out new ways to mess it up, and if they can just use some common sense and a little bit of courtesy," he said.

If you have questions about boating safety, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department can be contacted at (803) 785-8230.

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