Coast Guard prepares for large crowds on Charleston waterways

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The U.S. Coast Guard is finalizing preparations for Monday's eclipse as they prepare for more crowded waters than normal.

The Coast guard is expecting several people to watch the eclipse from boats in the Charleston harbor and other bodies of water.

"We've been planning for the last several weeks to months to work with our federal, state and local partners, to make sure that we're prepared for the influx of maritime traffic and boats out on the waterway," said James Zorn, the Public Affairs Officer for the Sector Charleston U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard will partner with other emergency crews in Charleston County and the City of Charleston to ensure public safety during the day.

Walt Miller, the owner of Charleston Sailing School, is also anticipating heavy crowds on the water.

He says of the 12 boats his company rents out, all of them are booked. Some have been unavailable for months now.

"If you're trying to get out on the water now, you better have a friend with a boat that's got an open seat," said Miller.

Zorn also said many people have been calling the Coast Guard asking if they can charge people for boat rides on the day of the eclipse. Charging for boat rides is not allowed unless the boat operator has a captain's license.

One local startup company has been ready with those licenses for a while.

"I think we'll have an extreme amount of business. Probably too much business than we can handle," said Gretchen Ousley, the Head of Operations for HOBA.

HOBA is an acronym for Hop On A Boat Anywhere. People can order boat rides on-demand using the app.

"It's kind of just like Uber of boats," Ousley said.

On the day of the eclipse, HOBA is expecting to be busy as ever. They've already made reservations and have received several calls from customers.

Though the waterways will be more crowded as businesses try to keep up with an influx of demand, the Coast Guard remains confident they can safely handle the crowds.

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