Do you like to spend a pleasant day boating on a lake or river? You aren’t the only one. Many South Carolina natives love to take advantage of the state’s nice weather by heading to the water. But if you enjoy boating, you need to be aware of the new safety requirements in recently passed South Carolina boating laws.
How the Law Has Changed
Starting in 2023, boaters who are younger than 17 years old must pass a boating safety course before using a boat on state waters. This course provides juveniles with a boating safety certificate. You must show this certificate to an appropriate official if they request it.
Breaking the Law
Breaking this law will cost you money. If you are caught, you could be fined as little as $50 and as much as $300. That is a lot of money to spend to avoid taking a short safety course.
However, there is some good news. Should you break this law, you will only receive a fine. Neglecting to earn a boating safety certificate as a minor does not count as a criminal offense. Thus, you won’t go to jail or have a felony on your record.
The Safety Course
But even though you can’t be charged with a felony, that doesn’t mean you should skip this course. The course is free if you attend in person. And if you would prefer to take an online course, you only need to spend $40. That is less money than the lowest possible fine.
Furthermore, South Carolina boating laws allow you to use safety certificates earned in other states. Alternatively, you don’t need to take this course if you have a U.S. Coast Guard license or a merchant mariner certificate.
Additionally, you can take a shorter course if you only want to rent a boat in South Carolina. You can use the certificate you get from the shorter course for only 30 days. But that is plenty of time if you are renting a boat while on vacation.
No Need for a Certificate When an Adult Is Present
Additionally, you don’t need to have a certificate if you are operating a boat with an adult present. So as long as you never go out on a boat alone, you don’t need to take this course.
Rowboats Are Excluded
Also, canoes, kayaks, and boats with very small engines are excluded. This law applies only to boats that have 10-horsepower engines or larger. If you and your friends want to spend a day fishing in a rowboat, no one will fine you for doing that.
Why Did the Legislature Pass This Law?
The legislature passed these South Carolina boating laws because boating accidents are treacherous. Unskilled boaters might crash into another boat or fall out of a boat. And when people get into accidents on open water, someone often dies. But even when people don’t die, they are likely to suffer serious injuries.
While there was some opposition to this law, it passed with bipartisan support. Acting on concerns from constituents, roughly 90% of the House of Representatives voted for the law.
What to Do After a Boating Accident
Unfortunately, taking a safety course won’t always prevent a boating accident. Even if you boat safely, other people may not. That is why you should know what to do after a boating accident in South Carolina.
Before you do anything else, get medical attention as quickly as possible for anyone injured in the accident. One of the most common injuries is inhaling water. This may not seem so bad. But even a little water in your lungs can lead to permanent harm.
Let a medical professional examine you as soon as you get to shore. And visit the emergency room unless the medic tells you that you are safe.
With that out of the way, call The Joel Bieber Firm. Our personal injury lawyers know how devastating boating accidents can be. We’ll help you contact a doctor who can best treat your injuries, and we’ll immediately start investigating your case.
Evidence disappears quickly after an accident, especially when another party is responsible. Fortunately, we know how to track down witnesses and evidence quickly. This is how we get you the most money possible after an accident.
Contact Our Law Firm Today
Were you injured in a boating accident with a minor? Contact The Joel Bieber Firm as soon as possible to speak to a boating accident lawyer who will help you get the money you deserve.