Recreational boating along the South Carolina coast is a popular activity. But accidents on the water occur far too often here. Recently, South Carolina’s boating fatality rate per 100,000 registered vessels was 13 percent higher statewide than the national average. Additionally, recent reports show alcohol contributed to more than 9 percent of all fatal boating accidents in South Carolina — nearly double the national rate. These troubling statistics highlight the sheer number of preventable casualties from negligent and reckless boating in South Carolina.

With years of experience fighting for the injured in South Carolina, Joe Cunningham Law is committed to holding negligent parties accountable after preventable injury accidents, including boating. Founder Joe Cunningham has extensive knowledge of maritime law, as he worked for years on different vessels crossing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as well as the Gulf of Mexico. And he knows how to obtain substantial results for local victims and families.

If you or a loved one got hurt due to someone else’s wrongful behavior on the water, reach out today for a free consultation with a Charleston boat accident lawyer. Joe can listen closely to your story, help you understand your options, and pursue maximum compensation for your losses.

What Are the South Carolina Boating Laws?

Operating a boat or other marine vessel in South Carolina comes with legal responsibilities. To safely and lawfully enjoy South Carolina’s lakes, rivers, and coastal waters, boaters must follow certain boating regulations, including laws pertaining to:

  • Boating Near Divers – Boat operators must remain at least 50 feet away from diver down flags, which are red flags with diagonal white stripes. These flags mark the locations of divers underwater. If a waterway is too narrow to pass more than 50 feet from a diver flag, the operator may proceed at idle speed, allowing as much clearance as is safe.
  • Negligent Boating – Negligent boating behaviors include exceeding idle speeds in designated no-wake zones, failing to maintain a proper lookout for others on the water, and operating too fast for the conditions. Operators can also face negligent boating charges for racing or pulling water skiers through areas marked off for swimming.
  • Reckless Boating – Reckless operation means operating a vessel in willful or wanton disregard for safety. This could include weaving through other vessels above idle speed, jumping the wake of another vessel within 200 feet, or crossing in front of another vessel with obstructed visibility.
  • Boating Under the Influence – It is unlawful to operate any moving marine vessel that is motorized or under sail in South Carolina waters while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or any combination thereof.