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Entering the eclipse by boat: How to stay safe on the waterways during the solar show

Entering the eclipse by boat: How to stay safe on the waterways during the solar show (WPDE)

The roads are expected to be busy next Monday, as people travel to see the total solar eclipse. It's not just the roadways though; waterways are supposed to be busy too.

"The serenity of the area, the peace, the solitude," said Matt Varnadore, the owner of Waccamaw Outfitters when asked about the reason people are heading to the water to view the eclipse.

"You can get some really wide spots in the river where you do not have any obstruction," he said.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will have extra officers patrolling the waterways on August 21. They're expecting higher traffic in the Georgetown and Charleston areas because both are in the path of totality.

"It's like any holiday weekend or any other weekend where there's something going on," said First Sgt. Kevin Pardue with DNR. "You just need to use a lot of extra common sense."

Pardue says it's hard to really anticipate what to expect because this is such a rare phenomenon. But, he believes people are most likely going to make a full day of the event.

"You can have a lot of traffic on the water all at one time. You can have the landings being very crowded. And, it could be a time when you really need some patience," he said.

Varnadore says he's asking renters to come back to the marina or to dock their boat or kayak before it gets dark since they'll need additional safety gear at that time.

"At night time, you have to have lights--even kayaks have to have lights," he explained.

Even though it's only supposed to get dark for a few minutes during the total eclipse, Pardue says boaters should follow the usual rules on the water.

"If you're anchored, it's the all around white light, the anchor light. If you're moving, and it's a period of reduced visibility, you have to have your red and green on also," he said. "Those are to let boats know when they see those lights which side to approach and who has right away."

Pardu warns, if people are going on the water for the eclipse, leave early and leave with extra time to head home.

Wacca Wache Marina in Murrells Inlet says their rentals are booked. They say they'll tell their renters to be docked or anchored during the darkest part of the eclipse.

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