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Public landings in South Carolina given option to reopen for launching of boats

Submitted by SCDNR

Gov. Henry McMaster’s Office has issued a revision to Executive Order 2020-16, Section 1(C) that reopens public boat landings and ramps in South Carolina for the purpose of launching or retrieving a boat beginning at 12 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020. Public boat landings across the state were previously ordered closed to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

The revision specifies that public boat landings and associated parking areas can now be opened at the discretion of the local government or other managing authorities of those landings. The order also authorizes the managing authority of any public landing to close or otherwise restrict public access to that public boat ramp or landing if they determine that such action is necessary to preserve or protect public health.

The revision does NOT address other facilities often co-located at public landings such as restrooms, piers, docks or designated bank fishing areas. Those types of facilities remain closed. The revision to Executive Order 2020-16, Section 1(C) reopens public boat ramps, landings and parking lots only for the limited purpose of launching and retrieving boats. Public beach access points remain closed.

Executive Order No. 2020-13 (Authorizing Law Enforcement to Maintain Order, Ensure Public Safety, and Preserve Public Health During the State of Emergency) remains in effect. Accordingly, no more than two individuals who are not family members from the same household may be on a boat, with some exceptions. Family members who reside in the same household may boat together in numbers greater than two. In addition, vessels on public waterways of the state must remain underway at all times, unless exigent circumstances exist or anchoring to fish. The beaching or rafting of boats, whether on a sandbar, lakeshore, riverbank, or island, remains prohibited for the duration of the State of Emergency. Links to the executive orders issued during the course of this State of Emergency, as well as livestreams/recordings of Gov. McMasters’s press briefings and other related information can be found on the website of the S.C. Emergency Management Division.

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