SC closes public access to waterways

Governor’s most recent Executive order closing access to state waterways with “I hereby order and direct that any and all public beach access points, 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. Accordingly, I hereby suspend, in accordance with section 25-1-440 of the South Carolina Code of Laws and other applicable law,” and “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. Subject to any further clarification, guidance, rules, regulations, or restrictions issued or promulgated by the South
Carolina Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”), as authorized herein below, 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

Which makes no sense to me. Is he expecting mobs at boat ramps? Bodies of water have far fewer people than most places and plenty of fresh, moving air.

Here in Beaufort SC the apparent issue is not crowding at the ramps or parking. It is the close congregating of boaters on popular sand bars exposed by ebbing tides or remote beaches not accessible by land. Whether that is any worse than current grocery shopping proximity and exposure is open to measurement and debate. I hope that common sense and respectful courtesy of all will prevail and speed our progress.

Also locally, Parris Island has suspended accepting new recruits. About 2 weeks prior they stopped the family graduation ceremony.

This past weekend, with sunshine and summer temperatures in SE NC, the boat ramps were lined up with people waiting to launch their boats, and folks congregating on the docks waiting to get into boats. Social distancing was being practiced by a few people. There were definitely groups on the docks, sandbars and beaches that were not. I hated to see it, because I feared closing the docks appeared necessary.

We’ve had similar. The Shelter In Place orders do allow individual exercise, but it is meant to be where you do the exercise in a place close to where you live. We have had lots of people driving to trailheads a few counties away, and those trails were too crowded for anyone to practice physical separation. So they have been slowly closing more and more parking lots first, and in some cases trails or whole parks. Unfortunate it is coming to this.

I did see photos from sand bars at beaches in Florida with people and boats packed side by side, and definitely understand why these rules needed to be put in place if SC has similar happening.

We here in the Bay Area of California are the ones with about the longest SIP in the US - we started our third week today. News is reporting positive stories about how the SIP has helped flatten our curve and prevent hospitals from being overloaded so far. I think we had an outbreak before NYC, yet our hospitals haven’t (yet) been overwhelmed. It may still be coming, but hopefully our actions bought enough time for the hospitals to better prepare.

Looking forward to when this is over so I can go paddling again.

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I live four lots from a boat ramp. It is interesting that the traffic is still more on the classic “off” times, ie weekends.

Andy, are you now paddler181029?

Thanks for bringing to my attention. I was for a short while without actually choosing it. Now am just “Andy” after figuring out how to change.

Good to see you are still out there.

Unfortunately it is needed. There have been multiple cases of people congregating in recreational areas. A number of states have had to close off the public areas because people were violating density rules at those locations. In some cases they fixer it by prohibiting parking. In most of these states, they had initially hoped to leave the parks and launches open.