In a recent development, Georgetown County is considering amending its boat landing rules to favor small charter boats. Under this new revision, charter vessels accommodating up to six individuals and measuring 30 feet or less will have the green light to operate from the county's public landings.
This adjustment is on the heels of a court verdict where six charter fishing captains were absolved of breaching the current regulations.
Sheriff Carter Weaver, present at the hearings, had previously voiced reservations about the older ordinance, questioning its enforceability. "I had the same concerns when I spoke with the county attorney earlier this year," Weaver remarked. His skepticism stemmed from the ordinance’s broad scope, which, if strictly interpreted, could impede events such as the professional fishing competitions held at the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex.
While the revised proposal maintains a ban on commercial activities at boat landings, it introduces exceptions. Specifically, captains possessing a “six-pack” license from the Coast Guard – named so due to the six-passenger limit – will be exempt. Furthermore, licensed captains operating boats not exceeding 30 feet and accommodating no more than six individuals will also be exempt. This encompasses fishing guides and petite tour boats, creating a more practical, enforceable rule, according to Weaver.
County Council Member Bob Anderson, instrumental in crafting the updated proposal, emphasized the revision isn’t an invitation for larger tour boats. Anderson explained, “We don't have the resources to address all commercial requirements. It boils down to financial constraints.”
While many lauded the proposed change for recognizing the role of tour boats in promoting local tourism and natural resources, not everyone was content. Chris Spigner, a local advocate for amending the ordinance, expressed disappointment that larger tour vessels still faced restrictions. She believes boats, like the Rover Tours, accommodating 40 passengers should be granted access to the Campbell landing.
Sheriff Weaver retorted, asking where the boundary should be drawn. He praised the county for delivering exceptional facilities for its community and taxpayers.
Furthermore, the proposed ordinance redefines "public boat facilities" to comprise “boat ramps, docks, piers, landings, parking, and access areas.” There are added stipulations too. The revised ordinance enforces a no-wake zone within 100 feet of these facilities, extends the swimming and recreational activity prohibition to 100 feet, and restricts fishing within 30 feet during boating activities. Additionally, county-endorsed events at boat facilities will be granted exemptions from this ordinance.
For avid readers and adventurers at WickedlyAwesome.com, this change could mean more small charter opportunities and enhanced experiences in Georgetown County!