DNR officers spend Labor Day weekend keeping boaters safe and sober on the water

Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest boating weekends of the year, but it can also be dangerous. In 2013, the US Coast Guard reported 75 alcohol-related boating deaths.

On Sunday, officers with SC Department of Natural Resources were out doing boat inspections to keep people safe on the water.

One boater that passed by for a boat inspection was Grady Elliott, who said he thought he knew everything to keep himself and his family safe while out on the water. Within minutes of the boat inspection, he found out he didn't.

"I was not aware that I needed a throw-over square lifejacket. I know when I bought the boat they gave me one and told me to keep it with me at all times but I was unaware of that and that was eye-opening for me. Now I know I got to keep that lifejacket on the boat at all times," Elliott explained.

Elliott learned the importance of proper life jackets and how many to have onboard at Sunday's courtesy boat inspection at the Highway 17 and 22 boat landing.

But there are several other things DNR look for at the courtesy boat inspections including whistles, fire extinguishers and throwable devices.

In 2013, There were more than 4,000 boating accidents nationwide. First Sergeant Nate Hutson with the State Department of Natural Resources said many are alcohol related, which is why DNR officers are also out on the water this busy Labor Day weekend.

"We've been trained in BUI detection. We're going to go through our safety inspection and we're going to know whether we believe the person is intoxicated or not and at that point in time we're going to go into a little more questioning," explained Hutson.

DNR held a number of other boat inspections at other locations in the state all weekend-long including one at Browns Ferry Landing in Georgetown County on Sunday.