Boating Safety Course

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Boating license requirements in South Carolina

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In South Carolina, boat operators under age 16 must complete a boating course approved by the SCDNR to operate a boat or personal watercraft with a 15 hp motor or greater, unless accompanied by an adult age 18 years or older.

South Carolina boating laws & regulations

All boats must have a US Coast Guard approved wearable type PFD for each person on board or being towed. Each PFD must be in good condition, readily available and the proper size for the intended wearer.

In addition, boats 16 feet in length or longer must carry a Type IV throwable device.

In South Carolina, any person under twelve years of age must wear a US Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD when on board a class “A” (less than 16 ft. long) boat.

Each person riding on a personal watercraft (PWC) must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I ,II, III or V PFD.

South Carolina law prohibits anyone from operating a moving motorized vessel or vessel under sail on the waters of the state while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or combination.

There are tough fines, jail time and boating suspensions for anyone that violates this law.

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FAQ - Boating in South Carolina

Who is required to take the boating safety course in South Carolina?

Boaters under 16 years of age are required by law to pass an approved boater education course before operating, without supervision, a personal watercraft (jet ski) or a boat powered by 15 hp motor or more.

Who is exempt from needing a South Carolina boating license ?

Anyone born prior to January 1st 1986 is not required to complete the boater education course for South Dakota.

What are the age restrictions regarding boating safety in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, boaters 16 years of age and older may operate any recreational boat or PWC without restrictions.

However, persons under the age of 16 must complete a boating course approved by the SCDNR in order to operate a motorboat or PWC with a 15 horsepower motor or greater.

The only exception for those under the age of 15 who have not completed an approved boating safety course is when they're accompanied by an adult not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Specifically, parents/guardians are responsible for the actions of persons under their care and supervision, and must not allow a child to illegally operate a boat or PWC.

Do I need to register my boat in South Carolina?

In the state of South Carolina, the law requires all motorized boats and watercraft, except  exempted vessels, sailboats, and all outboard motors five horsepower and greater to be titled.

By law the State must have your completed application and other required documents, which vary by purchase or selling situation, to title and register your boat and/or motor.

When purchasing a watercraft or outboard motor, make sure it is titled/registered to the person you are buying it from.

Is my boating license good in other States?

Every U.S. state that demands a boating license will accept Boating Education Licenses from other states that conform to NASBLA requirements as well.

You should follow your safety course in the State where you are resident.

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