On Wednesday (October 3, 2018), the U.S. Coast Guard and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) announced an update to previously issued emergency “Safety Zone” limiting boating traffic along portions of the Waccamaw, Black and Great Pee Dee rivers and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
USCG Marine Safety Information Bulletin # 40-18 Update-2 adjusts the area where permission is required for boat travel to include “all waters of the Waccamaw River along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) from Sandy Island north to the Socastee Swing Bridge (AICW statute mile marker 390 to AICW statute mile 370).
USCG and SCDNR officials have determined that high-water conditions have improved enough along previously restricted waterways outside of the above areas such that regular boat traffic can resume. Those areas include “Winyah Bay, Sampit River, AICW south of Sandy Island, AICW north of Socastee Swing Bridge, Great Pee Dee River and Black River.”
However, it is important to note that there are still numerous areas of abnormally high water, as well as extensive damage to docks and homes, throughout the flooded areas of the Pee Dee and Upper Coast. It is imperative that boaters in these areas keep a good lookout and maintain a safe speed that does not create wake that will do further damage in areas where high waters persist. The SCDNR would ask ALL boaters in these areas to please slow down and have extra concern for the people along these waterways who are still dealing with high water and property damage. REMEMBER: Boaters are responsible for the wake cast by their vessel (and any damage caused by that wake) at ALL times.