Boating season officially underway over Memorial Day Weekend

VIDEO: Boating season officially underway over Memorial Day Weekend
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Several people took advantage of the holiday Monday, and hit the water.

It's the unofficial start to summer, and a clear sign that boating season is underway in the Lowcountry.

Some local law enforcement agencies out in the harbor, and beyond, were pretty surprised to see how many people were out on the water.

While it may not have been as busy as the Fourth of July weekend, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol Unit saw a good turnout this holiday weekend.

They describe it as average to past years.

"There haven't been any significant calls that we've been on," Lt. Dan Maddock, with the Charleston Country Sheriff's

Office Marine Unit, said. "We've been pretty vigilant with our patrol, along with the patrol of the Department of Natural Resources, and with our different police departments and what not. I think it's been pretty average."

For the most part the unit makes basic stops, which includes violations in wake zones, registration checks, along with safety checks.

The Department of Natural Resources requires all boaters to have the following:

Personal Flotation Devices - All boats must have a US Coast Guard approved wearable type PFD for each person on board or being towed. Each PFD must be in good condition, readily available and the proper size for the intended wearer. In addition, boats 16 feet in length or longer must carry a Type IV throwable device. In South Carolina, any person under twelve years of age must wear a US Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD when on board a class "A" (less than 16 ft. long) boat.

Fire Extinguisher - One Coast Guard approved hand-held portable fire extinguisher must be aboard each boat less than 26 ft. if the boat is carrying passengers for hire or if the construction permits the entrapment of flammable vapors or if it has a permanently installed gas tank, including gas tanks that use any type of fastener that would hamper the immediate removal of the tank from the boat. Additional extinguishers are required in boats larger than 26 ft. Contact the SCDNR for complete regulations.

Navigation Lights - Navigation Lights must be on between official sunset and sunrise.

Flares - Flares are required for vessels in coastal waters.

Whistles - All boats less than 39.4 feet must carry an efficient sound producing device. Every vessel from 39.4 to 65.6 feet must carry a whistle and a bell.

It's also suggested to keep your driver's license on you when out on the boat along with your registration.

However the most concerning of all is alcohol, which the marine patrol unit said hasn't been too big of a problem as of yet.

"We want people to enjoy themselves while they're out here," Lt. Maddock said. "They have to understand though that alcohol and water don't mix, and common sense has really got to prevail."

Lt. Maddock said there's a lot of teamwork that happens out on the water. Not only is it the Sheriff's Office that patrols, but there's Charleston Fire, North Charleston Police, along with several other agencies that really put in the effort to keeping boats safe here.

Copyright 2015 WCSC. All rights reserved.