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McMaster signs measure to mandate boating safety course

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(The Center Square) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed a measure mandating boaters complete a safety course before hitting the Palmetto State’s waterways.

The South Carolina Boating Safety and Education bill requires boaters born on or after July 1, 2007, to complete the Department of Natural Resources-administered or approved course before operating a boat with an engine of 10 horsepower or more.

S. 96, which takes effect on Aug. 18, provides several exceptions, including for anyone with a boating safety certificate from another state or who is accompanied by a qualified boater 18 years or older. Additionally, anyone licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to operate a vessel or has a U.S. Coast Guard-issued merchant mariner credential is exempt.

“With 30,000 miles of rivers and streams and the most beautiful coastline in the country, boating is a cherished pastime in South Carolina,” McMaster, a Republican, said in an announcement. “By educating boaters and promoting responsible practices, we protect the lives of those who use our waterways and encourage more South Carolinians and visitors alike to enjoy South Carolina’s endless natural treasures.”

Anyone who violates the new mandate faces a fine of between $50 and $300, which cannot be suspended. The measure does not cover boaters operating on private ponds or lakes.

According to a fiscal estimate from the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, the new measure could lead to increased revenues for the state.

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