The Handbook of South Carolina: Boating Laws and Responsibilities

The Handbook of South Carolina: Boating Laws and Responsibilities


The Handbook of South Carolina: Boating Laws is the official boating handbook developed for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The handbook introduces you to South Carolina laws governing boating and provides general information about safe vessel operation on South Carolina waterways.

For boating fun in South Carolina, visit Lake Murray. Originally constructed as a hydroelectric power generating facility, Lake Murray now offers a chance for boaters to have fun on the water while fishing, skiing, and swimming.

Use this handbook to familiarize yourself with steps to make all your boating outings safe and enjoyable. Remember, safety on South Carolina waterways is the responsibility of all boaters. 

Topics include:

  • Vessel Basics
  • Navigation Rules
  • Nighttime Navigation
  • Emergencies
  • Personal Watercraft (PWCs)
  • South Carolina Boating Laws and Regulations
  • Required Equipment
  • Skiing
  • And much more…

Boater Education

You may have heard that you need a boating license to operate your boat, but what you really need is a boaters safety course. Whether or not your state requires education, it can reduce boating accidents and injuries on the water. Boaters can keep themselves and their passengers safe by learning about responsible boat operation, etiquette, and the rules of the waterways.

Persons under 16 years of age, who are unaccompanied and operate a boat or PWC over 15 horsepower in South Carolina, must pass a South Carolina-approved boat education course.