COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — Thursday morning, a House Judiciary subcommittee advanced a boater safety and education program bill.
S.96 passed unanimously in mid-February. It would require the next generation of boaters in South Carolina to complete a state-approved boating safety course before operating motorized boats.
The legislation would mandate anyone born on or after July 1, 2007 to take a boating safety course. Anyone born before that would be exempt from the course.
The 2007 year requirement is fixed, so that means as more time passes more and more boaters on the waterways have to be licensed.
Advocates say this would help cut down on boat crashes and fatalities on South Carolina waterways.
Randall Smith’s son Drew died on the waters of Lake Murray in July 1997. The 11-year old was killed by an impaired boater. In 1999, state lawmakers passed Drew’s Law, it made penalties for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) as severe as those for a DUI.
Thursday, Smith spoke to the House Judiciary subcommittee urging them to pass the boating safety education bill.
“Not very often do you have the opportunity to pass legislation that will in fact save lives,” he said.
The legislation has now been sent to the full House Judiciary Committee.