As boaters flood Beaufort County waters during the summer, so do law enforcement patrols.
On July 4, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources arrested three people for boating under the influence — including one man who was pulled over after a deputy saw him drop his pants and moon his friends.
For those who boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a pleasant day on the water can quickly turn into a ride on a police boat in a lifejacket and handcuffs on their way to the county jail.
Unlike a DUI, boating under the influence doesn’t affect driving privileges in South Carolina.
However, a conviction could keep you off the water.
For a first offense, a guilty conviction for boating under the influence is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $200, imprisonment between 48 hours or 30 days and a suspension of boating privileges for six months. Instead of the 48-hour minimum jail time, a judge could also decide to impose the same amount of public service.
Those caught drinking and driving a boat multiple times face much steeper penalties.
Read up on South Carolina’s boating laws and stay safe in the surf.