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#06-214 August 14, 2006

Personal watercraft safety is top priority for DNR

Person on Personal WatercraftSouth Carolina Department of Natural Resources boating law enforcement officers are aggressively enforcing the negligent or reckless operation of personal watercraft. This aggressive enforcement of irresponsible operation is an effort to curtail the number of accidents and ensure a safer boating environment.
           
So far this year, one person has died and 12 have been injured in personal watercraft accidents on state waters. Twenty-three people were injured in personal watercraft accidents in 2005. In 2004, there was one personal watercraft fatality and 18 personal injuries.
           
To report dangerous and unsafe personal watercraft operation, contact the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Operation Game Thief and Coast Watch hotline at 1-800-922-5431.
           
“South Carolina has had a very busy boating season, and the number of serious accidents related to personal watercraft has caused great concern,” said Col. Alvin Taylor, deputy director of the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “The Law Enforcement Division has a zero tolerance policy towards negligent operation of a watercraft. Negligent or reckless operation of a personal watercraft will not be tolerated.
           
“DNR officers patrolling the state’s waterways are constantly on the look-out for dangerous and irresponsible use of personal watercraft, often referred to as Jet-skis,” Taylor said.
           
In addition to the potential danger and risk of personal injury, persons convicted of operating a personal watercraft in a negligent or reckless manner can be fined $425 and lose their privilege to operate a watercraft in South Carolina waters. Those convicted of reckless operation are required to complete a DNR-approved safe boating course, prior to regaining their boating privileges.

Taylor said that there are laws specific to the operation of personal watercraft that all operators should know and follow:

“Boating safety classes offered by DNR, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadron address the operation of personal watercraft and the laws that are specific to them,” Taylor said. “I highly recommend enrolling in a boater safety course, regardless of age or boating experience.”

Check SC Boating Laws for more information>>>


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