Boating safety bill sails through South Carolina Legislature

Safe boating
Safe boating
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 6:46 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBIA, S.C (WRDW/WAGT) - Legislation to make South Carolina’s lakes, rivers, and waters safer – could soon be on the governor’s desk.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a boating safety bill – that had already passed the state Senate.

It would require anyone born after July 2007 -- take a boater education course to operate most boats and personal watercrafts, like jet skis, by themselves.

That’s currently not a requirement for most people behind the wheel on the state’s waters.

This includes boat rentals as well – and people who have completed this course in other states would have reciprocity in South Carolina.

The loved ones of boat crash victims – have been fighting for years to strengthen South Carolina’s boater safety law – which is currently one of the weakest in the southeast.

“I was crying up there, a lot of emotions are going through our bodies right now. My dad would be so proud. My mom, everything she’s lost, everything that’s happened, it’s not in vain. Other lives are going to be safe now,” said boating safety advocate Morgan Kiser.

There are some differences between the versions of this bill passed in the House and the Senate – including who’d be exempt from this requirement.

So lawmakers will next need to work out a compromise to send to the governor.