COLUMBIA (WACH)??The start of the 2014 football season marks the end of summer in the Midlands, and with that, the last big party on Lake Murray over the long Labor Day weekend.
Although water safety should always be top of mind while on a boat, swimming, or playing near water, the added number of people out enjoyed one last day of summer means people should be even more aware, and understand the laws.
Sgt. Rhett Bickley with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources reminds boaters that the basics are still important. ??Sometimes a registration will expire over the summer, and people will forget to renew it,?? he says. Sgt. Bickley also is constantly vigilant about boat and drinking alcohol. ??If someone is even a .05, I can give testimony that the boater is impaired.??
Sgt. Bickley is also a member of the South Carolina DNR Aquatic Investigation and Recovery Unit. Bickley points out that this specialized team of divers is a recovery unit, not a rescue team. ??Rescue is done by lifeguards,?? says Bickley, pointing out that his team is activated when the chance for rescue no longer exists.
Not every officer of the SCDNR is a member of the unit, as there is a specific selection process for officers who which to join. After the selection process, advanced training brings the diver up to speed, as they learn how to navigate is no light or no visibility situations. The team does training on working around log jams, working in currents, and other potential hazards to divers.
Although some of the gear utilized by the SCDNR recovery team is also used by recreational divers, the team also employs tools such as a specially outfitted john boat with a crane designed to life things out of the water. They also use a different type of air tank than you might find at Wateree Dive Center, that is designed for specific buddy breathing, while offing a different air option.
The SC DNR recovery team is not a group you want to meet, at least not under water, however, they have a very important mission when a day on the water goes terribly wrong.
You can find more information about the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources by checking out their website HERE.