GREENVILLE CO., S.C. (WSPA)- Labor Day is one of the most popular times for friends and families to head out on the water to soak up the last days of summer.
Boat traffic is picking up as folks are enjoying the lakes around the Upstate, but before you leave shore, there are some things to keep in mind.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says no matter what age you are, wear a life jacket.
“They really don’t do you any good unless you’re wearing them. It’s kind of like a seatbelt in the car, it’s great to have it there but if you’re in a wreck it’s not going to help you,” SCDNR’s Greg Lucas said.
Even though it’s not illegal to have alcohol on a boat, Pickens County Emergency Management PIO Pierce Womack says to treat it like you’re driving a car.
Womack said, “Have a designated driver, have someone who can handle the boat on the water and also get it safely back on the trailer and drive the vehicle home.”
One of the biggest issues seen every year is if someone needs help, often they aren’t able to tell emergency crews where they are on the water.
Womack said, “We do have the capabilities at our 911 center to try to GPS that caller but it doesn’t always work. Cell service and other things have to factor in. So just having awareness of where you are on the lake or what landmarks you may be near if you have to call for help.”
Emergency management says they give courtesy boat checks to make sure you have all the proper gear and tools on board before being out on the water.
If you’re riding on a boat but you will be at the lake, emergency management says it’s important to have an idea how deep water is before you jump in.