Boating Safety

It is important for you to review boating safety rules before you leave, no matter how much boating experience you may have. These are basic boating safety tips to review before you leave.


  • Appoint a First-mate:  More than one person on board should be familiar with all aspects of your boat's handling, operations and safety procedures. If the captain is no longer able to operate the boat, it is necessary to make sure someone else can follow boating safety rules in order to get the boat and passengers back to shore.
  • Check the Weather:  Always check local weather conditions before departure. Dark clouds, rough changing winds or sudden drops in temperature indicate that you should play it safe and get off the water. Visit The Weather Channel for current Charleston-Area weather updates.
  • Communicate a Float Plan:  Make sure to inform a family member or staff at the marina of your float plan in terms of where you are going and how long you are planning to be gone. A float plan should include the following information:
  • Name, address and phone number of the captain
  • Name and number of all people on board
  • Boat type and registration information
  • Trip itinerary
  • Types of communication and signal equipment on board
  • Have a Safety Check Performed:  Take advantage of a free vessel safety check that the U.S. Coast Guard offers. They perform complimentary boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. Free of charge, they provide a specialist to check out your boat and make helpful boating safety tips and recommendations. Visit here to find a vessel safety check examiner closest to you.
  • Know How to Swim:  Knowing how to swim is a must if you are going to be in and around water. Local organizations offer training for all ages and abilities. Visit the official American Red Cross website to see what classes are being offered in the Charleston-Area.
  • Leave Alcohol at Home:  The probability of being in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved. Studies have also shown that external elements like the sun greatly increase the affects of alcohol.
  • Take a Boating Course:  All boaters must be familiar with boating safety rules and operating procedures. It is important to be educated, aware and prepared for any situation that might arise. You can take boating safety courses through a local community course or an on-line tutorial. Visit the official U.S. Coast Guard website for on-line tutorials.
  • Use a Checklist Before Departure:  Boating safety means being prepared for any possibility on the water. Following a checklist is a great way to ensure that all boating safety rules have been followed.
  • Use Lifejackets Properly:  When a boat accident results in drowning, most victims are found not to be wearing a life jacket. Make sure that your family and friends are not a part of this statistic by assigning and fitting each passenger with a life jacket before you leave. Visit the official U.S. Coast Guard website for a complete guide to life jacket safety.
  • Use Your Common Sense:  Using your common sense is so important when it comes to boating safety. This means operating at safe speed at all times, being alert at all times and staying clear of large boats that are restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Also remember that buoys and navigational aids have been put there to ensure boaters safety.


599 Robert Smalls Parkway

Beaufort, SC 29906

ph:  (843) 522-2040

Hilton Head Island:

Windmill Harbour Marina

3 Harbour Passage

Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

ph:  (843) 441-1377

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