CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Local law enforcement agencies are preaching boater safety for the upcoming July 4 weekend.
Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, DNR and other agencies held a news conference at the Coast Guard station Friday morning.
Officials say 11 people have died in boating related accidents this year, compared to 19 for all of 2015.
"I can't beat the safety drum enough," DNR 1st Sgt. Angus McBride said. "Everyone is responsible for their own safety on the water.
McBride said all boaters should make sure they have the necessary equipment on board.
"Find out where the life jackets are, find out where the fire extinguisher is."
McBride says boaters should file a float plan and let family members know where they will be.
"If you've got someone who is overdue, don't wait, don't hesitate. Don't give them that extra 30 minutes, that extra 30 minutes could be the difference between life and death," he warned.
Authorities also say there should be a designated, sober captain.
"Even the most capable and competent boater can make bad decisions when alcohol is involved," Charleston County Sheriff's Lt. Dan Maddock said.
All agencies say they will have stepped up patrols on the water throughout the weekend.