South Carolina Boating Laws and Regulations
Age and Operator Restrictions
Boaters born after July 1, 2007 are required by law to pass an approved boater education course before operating a boat, personal watercraft (jet ski), or a specialty propcraft powered by 10 hp motor or more.
In SC , it is unlawful for a person to operate upon the waters of this State a vessel powered by an engine of ten horsepower or greater or equivalent to ten horsepower or greater, a personal watercraft, or a specialty propcraft unless the person:
- was born on or before July 1, 2007;
- is in possession of a South Carolina boating safety certificate issued in the person's name or is documented by the department as having been issued a South Carolina boating safety certificate;
- is in possession of a license to operate a vessel issued by the United States Coast Guard in the person's name, regardless of the expiration date on the license;
- is in possession of a merchant mariner credential issued by the United States Coast Guard in the person's name, regardless of the expiration date on the credential;
- is a nonresident in possession of a boating safety certificate, or an equivalency, issued by another state in the nonresident's name;
- is operating a vessel, personal watercraft, or specialty propcraft from a business engaged in the renting of vessels, personal watercrafts, or specialty propcrafts and is in possession of a valid boat rental safety certificate issued in the person's name; or
- is accompanied by a person at least eighteen years old who meets one of the criteria in items
This is a copy of S96 passed by the General Assembly: Click Here
South Carolina law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following the laws and guidelines.
Carry the Card: Vessel operators who are required to have a Boater Education Card must carry the card on board the vessel and have it available for inspection by an enforcement officer.
Penalty: Not carrying your Boater Education Card when one is required can result in a fine.
For visiting boaters, all states, territories, and provinces will recognize boating education cards that meet NASBLA requirements and Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Cards that meet Transport Canada’s requirements. (This is known as “reciprocity.”)
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