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Columbia Business Monthly

Public landings in South Carolina given option to reopen for launching boats

Apr 16, 2020 05:59PM ● By David Dykes
Staff Report

Gov. Henry McMaster has revised a previous order and reopened public boat landings and ramps in South Carolina for the purpose of launching or retrieving boats beginning at 12 p.m. Friday, April 17, 2020.

Public boat landings across the state were previously ordered closed to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. 

The revision specifies that public boat landings and associated parking areas can be opened at the discretion of the local government or other managing authorities of those landings. 

The order also authorizes the managing authority of any public landing to close or otherwise restrict public access to that public boat ramp or landing if they determine such action is necessary to preserve or protect public health.

The revision doesn't address other facilities often co-located at public landings such as restrooms, piers, docks or designated bank fishing areas. Those types of facilities remain closed, state officials said. 

The revision to McMaster's executive order reopens public boat ramps, landings and parking lots only for the limited purpose of launching and retrieving boats, the officials said. Public beach access points remain closed.

State officials said an executive order authorizing law enforcement to maintain order, ensure public safety, and preserve public health during the state of emergency remains in effect.

That means no more than two individuals who are not family members from the same household can be on a boat, with some exceptions. 

Family members who reside in the same household may boat together in numbers greater than two, state officials said.

In addition, vessels on public waterways in the state must remain underway at all times, unless pressing circumstances exist or anchoring to fish, the officials said. 

The beaching or rafting of boats, whether on a sandbar, lakeshore, riverbank, or island, remain prohibited.

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