Authorities urge caution as boaters take to the river for Independence Day celebrations

A public safety officer says hundreds of boats are likely to be on the river for the fireworks, but some safety hazards come with increased traffic on the water.
A public safety officer says hundreds of boats are likely to be on the river for the fireworks, but some safety hazards come with increased traffic on the water.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF)- Independence Day means hitting the river for many in the CSRA, especially those who enjoy watching the fireworks from boats.

A public safety officer says hundreds of boats are likely to be on the river for the fireworks, but some safety hazards come with increased traffic on the water.

“You got to remember there’s several boats coming from South Carolina, and also boaters from Georgia, and then some people come from as far as McCormick Counties or Lexington Counties to see the fireworks show on the river,” said Officer Tommy Adams with North Augusta Public Safety.

On the South Carolina side, most boats enter through a single ramp located in Riverview Park. We caught up with officers from North Augusta Public Safety about how they’re preparing for an influx of boaters.

“Our entire traffic division, along with the patrol division, will be out tonight, and we’re going to try to…manage the parking issues down at Hammond’s Ferry boat landing,” Adams said.

The traffic is also expected to be bad on the waterways.

“That’s exactly why I’m getting off the water while I am,” said kayaker Roger Ginter.

He tells us the river on the fourth is too much for him.

“It’s getting really busy out here, and you don’t know, how much, if they are drinking…and I’m just out here to enjoy it, to be relaxed,” he said.

The Department of Natural Resources will be patrolling the river, looking out for those who may be boating under the influence.

“Just like a car, you have a designated driver,” said boater Lonnie Becnel.

Although you may be taking precautions, you should still have proper gear for emergencies.

Anyone 12 and older dosen’t have to wear a life jacket while out on the boat, but you do have to have one for every single person on board just in case.

Another issue boaters worry about it is speed.

“Even with our pontoon, we don’t put that in on Labor Day, on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July,” Ginter said. “We go for the off-weekends… just people like speed too much, and speed and water don’t mix for me.”

The DNR also recommends having a fire extinguisher and a horn on board.

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