South Carolina Regulatory Guide

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regulates boating, emphasizing safety and environmental conservation. They enforce rules on boat registrations, safety equipment, and speed limits while actively promoting responsible boating practices through education. The DNR's efforts aim to create a safe and sustainable boating environment while preserving South Carolina's diverse aquatic ecosystems. On this page, we navigate you through everything you need to have in place in order to ensure that your boat rental business is compliant with South Carolina's regulations, along with some other important things to keep in mind.

Boxes you need to tick

These are requirements as defined by law:

License Requirement

Operators need a boating safety certificate if born after July 1, 2007.

Record Requirement

The owner of a boat livery shall cause to be kept a record of the name and address of the person or persons hiring any vessel.

The owner of a boat livery shall cause to be kept a record of the name and address of the person or persons hiring any vessel; the identification number thereof, and the departure date and time, and the expected time of return. The record shall be preserved for at least six months.

Registration Requirement

Neither the owner of a boat livery nor his agent or employees may permit any of his vessels to depart from his premises unless it is registered properly, numbered, and titled.

Keep in mind when renting out boats


Livery Definition

Not required

List of Passengers

The information provided is intended to be general and informative, and should not be interpreted as regulatory, legal, or insurance advice. It does not constitute professional advice from a licensed insurance agent and does not establish an attorney-client or insurer-insured relationship. This information should not replace the counsel of a qualified legal, regulatory, or insurance professional. Always consult with a qualified professional for legal, regulatory, or insurance advice pertaining to your specific circumstances.

Boat Rental Accident Reporting

In the case of a reportable accident, the operator or owner of any vessel involved shall file a full description of the accident with the department and provide any information the department may require when requested as part of the investigation within forty-eight hours of the accident. 

The owner or operator of a watercraft involved must furnish his name, address, and identification of his watercraft in writing to any person injured or the owner of any property damaged in the accident as soon as possible after the collision. In the event an accident results in death, loss of consciousness, or serious bodily injury, the owner or operator immediately shall notify the department.

S.C. Department of Natural Resources

Rembert C. Dennis Building

1000 Assembly Street,

Columbia, SC 29201

Contact local law enforcement after an accident for more information.

Report Accident

Federal Regulation

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) regularly provides updates on recentchanges in regulation and have overviews of specific requirements for boatrental companies

Buoy is your one-stop shop for compliance & insurance

Buoy provides boat rental companies with peace of mind while saving time and money. When using Buoy’s insurance solution, we will help you get fully compliant free of charge.

Get peace of mind
White glove support
Download resources