“As a result of behavior observed this past weekend by the Department of Natural Resources and SLED, it has become necessary to close public access to our state’s beaches, and to close boat ramps and landings on our state’s lakes, rivers and waterways,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “This is unfortunate for those who chose to responsibly follow the instructions of our public health officials, but it is a necessary action to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus.”
The governor’s executive order authorizes and instructs the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, in consultation with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Attorney General’s office, to provide any necessary supplemental guidance.
“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,” the governor’s order reads.
The order does not impact the rights of private property owners living on beaches, lakes, rivers, or waterways in any way.
Received this from SCDNR moments ago:
Date: March 31, 2020 at 11:30:19 AM EDT
To: Nathan Ballentine
Subject: Interim Public Guidance from SCDNR
SCDNR is working with our state and local agency partners to enforce the provisions of Governor’s Executive Order 2020-16. All public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps, and boat landings providing access to the public waters of the State, including any adjacent or associated parking lots or other facilities, are closed to public access for recreational purposes for the duration of the State of Emergency. This does not apply to privately-owned facilities including pay-for-launch boat ramps, marinas, or private boat docks, however, law enforcement will be enforcing the requirement to practice social distancing. The beaching or rafting of boats, whether on a sandbar, lakeshore, riverbank, or island, is prohibited under this Order. Anchoring to fish is allowed; however, rafting is prohibited. This Order also does not prevent persons from using boats or watercraft to access other private properties accessible only by water. SCDNR and DHEC will be releasing more detailed guidance and answers to frequently asked questions later today. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we handle this unprecedented public health situation.