DNR News** Archived Article - please check for current information. **
No-wake zones will improve boater safety on May River May 18, 2018
Boaters on the May River need to be aware of two new no-wake zones put in place near the town of Bluffton, as coastal residents, visitors, law enforcement agencies and other first responders begin gearing up for another busy summer boating season. The Memorial Day holiday weekend typically kicks off the summer boating season with increased traffic along coastal waterways and on inland lakes in South Carolina, prompting the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and other agencies to step up boating patrols, particularly in known high-traffic areas.
On May 4, SCDNR Boating Safety staff placed buoys, markers and signage designating two new no-wake zones on the May River to mark no-wake zones around the town’s Oyster Factory Park Boat Landing and Calhoun Street public dock. The no-wake zones extend from the riverbank to create an approximately 75-yard buffer around the boat ramp, and an approximately 50-yard buffer around the public dock. Boats entering either of the no-wake zones must be at idle speed, defined as “the minimum speed to maintain steerage.” Boats passing through on this section of the river are advised to use the middle-to far side (the side opposite the dock and boat landing) of the river channel, while maintaining a safe speed for traffic conditions and a keeping good lookout for other powered vessels, as well as swimmers and kayakers.
In all areas of the state, boaters should review the following safe-boating practices and recommendations before getting out on the water this year:
The markers in the image above represent the approximate boundaries of two new no wake zones approved for the May River in Beaufort County. SCDNR staff placed the buoys and signage for the new zones on May 4, 2018. Boater using the area should familiarize themselves with the new markers, take care to keep a good lookout when passing through the area and manage their wakes responsibly. [Image courtesy Google Earth].
Before you leave the boat ramp
- Download DNR Float plan (Adobe PDF file), fill it out and make sure you leave the plans with a responsible individual.
- Check the weather.
- Let someone know where you are going.
- Gather all lifesaving devices. Make sure they are in good serviceable condition and are the correct size for all passengers (especially children).
- Check the fuel and the battery charge.
- Make sure lights are in good working condition on the boat and trailer.
- Make sure fire extinguisher is readily accessible and in good serviceable condition.
- Put the plug in.
- Connect trailer safety chains to tow vehicle.
- Carry a cell phone if possible.
While on the Water
- Know the aids to navigation and buoy system in your areas.
- Don't operate the boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- When operating sailboats be aware of overhead power lines and wires.
- If someone falls overboard, throw something that will float (Personal Floating Device (PFD), raft or cooler).
- All boats approaching from the right have the right of way.
- Always anchor from the bow of the boat and pull the anchor before leaving.
- If boat capsizes, stay with the boat.
- If caught in a storm, head into the wind, put on PFD's and keep passengers low in the boat.
- Cold water boaters such as duck hunters, fishermen, sailors beware! Cold water kills.
- Call Operation Game Thief (1-800-922-5431) to report boating, fishing or hunting violations.
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