SCDNR reminds SC boaters of restrictions

The SCDNR is reminding boaters that they only acceptable reason for anchoring right now is for the purpose of fishing.

Beaching and rafting of boats still not allowed

On Monday, April 28, Gov. McMaster extended South Carolina’s State of Emergency for an additional 15 days. Executive Order 2020-16, issued by Gov. McMaster on March 30 (which remains in effect), prohibits beaching, including, but not limited to, beaching to drop off others, camp, walk, have lunch, gather shells, or go to the restroom.

Boaters must keep their boat underway or drifting at all times unless actively fishing or under exigent circumstances. This does not allow boaters to legally anchor and swim. Additionally, the Executive Order allowing municipalities and counties to open coastal beach access points to foot traffic DOES NOT provide for legal access to any beach or sandbar via boat.

SCDNR conservation officers tasked with educating the public and enforcing the orders issued by Gov. McMaster will be out in force in the coming days with a stepped-up schedule of water patrols until the current State of Emergency is lifted, but voluntary compliance with these orders is strongly encouraged. Complying is also necessary to prevent potential transmission of the virus.

Certain properties remain closed

To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 the following SCDNR-managed properties, many of which are popular spots for boaters to congregate, remain closed until further notice. These include:

– The islands that make up the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center (both the ocean-facing South Island and North Island & Cat Island on the ICW) in Georgetown County

– Cedar Island and Murphy Island at Santee Coastal Reserve WMA in Georgetown County

– Capers Island Heritage Preserve in Charleston County

– The beach/beach access at Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve & WMA in Charleston County

– South Fenwick Island in the ACE Basin NERR in Colleton County

– The islands that make up the St. Helena Sound Heritage Preserve and WMA (including Pine Island, Otter Island, Ashe Island, Beet Island, Warren Island, Big Island, Buzzard Island, North Williman Island and South Williman Island) in the ACE Basin

– Daws Island Heritage Preserve on the Broad River in Beaufort County

– Turtle Island WMA in Jasper County

SCDNR officers will continue to patrol all of the state’s waterways.

Please continue to boat safely and enjoy the water with family members while continuing to practice good social/physical distancing with those not in your immediate household. And avoid activities with the potential to spread this deadly virus to others.

Feel free to report violations or emergency situations on the water directly to SCDNR’s Law Enforcement Division via our 24-7 hotline at 1-800-922-5431.

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