CHAPIN (WACH) -- The Richland County Sheriff's Department and the DNR are teaming up to make a popular summer-time recreation area safer.
Sheriff Leon Lott and DNR Colonel Alvin Taylor announced the opening of a new Richland County Marine Patrol Task Force Headquarters Tuesday.
The agencies gathered at the new facility at Lighthouse Marina in Chapin. Along with the announcement came a special donation.
D.A.R.E. presented a 28' boat to patrol Lake Murray at the gathering. The organization says the boat showing its logo will also be used for school visits and community events.
"It provides quick response to the public that may be in danger on the lake or they need someone there in a hurry, by having this facility here on the lake in Richland County is really going to make a huge difference," Taylor says.Related Stories... 3 charged in May Lake Murray boating deaths Boaters death still under investigation Body found on Lake Murray, DNR investigating
Officials took the time to stress the importance of safety on open water.
The DNR says the leading cause of fatalities in the water is failure to wear a life jacket.
Other safety tips include:
- Personal flotation devices " they must fit correctly, be used for the intended purposes and everyone must have one- When it comes to children, personal flotation devices should always be worn near any body of water- Boating safety checklist should always be followed when operating a water craft which includes navigational lights, first aid kit, fire extinguishers and audible devices- No operation of water craft while under the influence of alcohol " if you are going to consume alcohol while boating please use a designated driver and you must be over the age of 21
Do you think a new patrol headquarters will make the waters safer in Richland County? Leave a comment below to weigh in.