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SC Governor Suspends Recreational Water Access

On Order of Governor, State of South Carolina Suspending Recreational Water Access

Closures Include All Public Boat Ramps and Recreational Water Access Points in County

 Anderson County, S.C. (March 30, 2020, 8:00 p.m.) – In compliance with Gov. McMaster’s Executive Order 2020-16, issued this evening, the State of South Carolina is suspending public access, until further notice, to all public boat ramps, all boat landings, all other recreational water access points, and all associated parking lots and facilities.

The Honorable Tommy Dunn, Anderson County Council Chairman, said, “We recognize that Lake Hartwell is our most valuable natural resource and the extraordinary effect this will have on local businesses that depend on the lake to survive. These are extraordinary times, and we must comply with the Governor’s order, but County Council will be discussing specific measures to support our local businesses through this difficult time. Council understands the impact this order will have, and we stand ready to help local business mitigate the harm done.”

The order, which requires compliance by all counties in South Carolina, takes the following actions:

  • Closes All Public Piers, Docks, Boat Ramps, Boat Landings and All Associated Parking Lots & Facilities
    • “…I hereby order and direct that any and all public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, and boat landings providing public access to the public waters of this State, to include any adjacent or associated public parking lots or other public facilities, shall be closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency…”
  • Prohibits All Rafting; Anchoring to Fish Allowed; Does Not Apply to Licensed Commercial Fishing
    • “…I further direct that the beaching or rafting of boats, whether on a sandbar, lakeshore, riverbank, or island, is prohibited for the duration of the State of Emergency. Vessels must remain underway at all times unless exigent circumstances exist. Anchoring to fish is allowed; however, rafting is prohibited under all circumstances. This Section does not apply to individuals possessing a current, valid commercial fishing license or permit to the extent such individuals may seek to utilize or rely upon public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, or boat landings in connection with commercial fishing activities…”
  • Does Not Apply to Private Property Owners on Public Waterways; Prohibition of Social Gatherings of Three (3) or More Remain in Force
    • “In accordance with article XIV, section 4 of the South Carolina Constitution, this Section does not enlarge or infringe upon the existing rights of individuals to access the navigable waters of this State or the rights of owners of private property adjacent to the public beaches or public waterways of this State; however, any such individuals are still subject to the provisions of prior and future Orders…which expressly authorizes any and all law enforcement officers of the State, or any political subdivision thereof, to prohibit or disperse any congregation or gathering of people, unless authorized or in their homes, in groups of three (3) or more people, if any such congregation or gathering is deemed to pose, or could pose, a threat to public health.”

The Governor’s full order is available by visiting governor.sc.gov/executive-branch/executive-orders.  For more information on COVID-19, please visit scdhec.gov/covid19.

 

This page was last modified in March 2020.

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