HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A local representative wants to make the Intracoastal Waterway safer as boat captains and others express their concerns with safety on the water.
Some say people drive on the waterway too recklessly. Representative William Bailey wants to change that.
“We’re hearing a lot of concerns about inexperienced boaters, lack of knowledge about the rules, just the over crowdedness in general,” Bailey said.
Bailey held a community meeting last month to hear what the main concerns were. Recklessness on jet skis, driving too fast, not on the right side, and ignoring wake zones are just some of the issues boat captains like Keith Logan are seeing.
“We have to be a lot more cautious,” said Logan, captain of North Myrtle Beach Fishing Charters. “We also have to drive for ourselves and everyone else. We have to be looking ahead to see how other people are operating their boats as we operate ours and make sure they’re not operating in a reckless manner.”
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR), last year more watercraft were involved in crashes along the Intracoastal Waterway than anywhere else in the state. Bailey said the waterways need to be safer so he plans to travel to Columbia Thursday to meet with DNR commanders.
“My question to them is ‘ok, now you’re in leadership, what’s the plan to address that rate?'” he said. “We’ve got to make it safer.”
Logan said he would like to see more officers in the area to help enforce the no-wake zones. He also said he would like proper signage and more education. He said summertime is when they see the most issues but said last year it got worse with more people buying boats and jet skis — looking to do something outside due to COVID-19.
“Some of these people have never really owned a boat and not sure how to operate it or how to operate it properly or know the rules,” Logan said.
Bailey said he’s working to schedule another community meeting with the DNR.