Safe boating class Saturday
FORT MILL The Catawba Sail & Power Squadron offers America’s Boating Course 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Driving 911 classroom at 2000 S.C. 160, near Towne Tavern.
This is a one-day class with an exam that will earn a certificate qualifying participants for a discount from most boat insurance companies, and qualify 13- to 16-year-olds to legally operate a boat or personal watercraft.
Cost of the manual is $35, which can be shared. The class is free. Lunch can be provided for $5.
To sign up or get the manual in advance (read chapters 1-4 before class), call 803-831-8252 or 803-548-5362.
Bass challenge hits Wylie March 1
ROCK HILL The Carolinas Bass Challenge will be back on Lake Wylie at Ebenezer Park on March 1.
About 350 fishermen are expected for the event, said event coordinator Brett Collins, competing in teams of two for several hours to see who can bring back the biggest bass. On a nice day, as many as 500 people are expected to come out to Ebenezer Park to see the final weigh-ins that determine the winner.
“The people at Ebenezer Park are some of the nicest people we deal with,” he said, noting that the tournament has stops across North and South Carolina.
While bass in other lakes can be 8 pounds or more, he said the bass in Lake Wylie usually top out at around 5 pounds because of the lake’s proximity to heavily populated areas.
“There may be bigger ones in there, but they’re not biting,” Collins said. “Those fish have gotten smart.”
According to the Carolinas Bass Challenge’s website, the big fish winner at each event wins $1,000 and tournament grand prize winners could get a boat and much larger cash prizes.
SCDNR boating course March 15
YORK The York County Sheriff’s Office Lake Enforcement Unit is holding a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources approved boating safety course from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 15 at the Law Enforcement Training Center, 92 Stoneybrook Drive.
The minimum age is 12 years old. In South Carolina, boaters younger than age 16 are required by law to pass an approved boater education course before operating, without supervision, a personal watercraft or a boat powered by a 15 horse power motor or more.
There is no charge for the class. To register for the course, call 803-628-7634 or visit dnr.sc.gov/education/boated.html by March 7.
Public input wanted on aquatic plan
COLUMBIA The public is invited to review and provide comments on the Draft 2014 South Carolina Aquatic Plant Management Plan through the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. The plan is available online at dnr.sc.gov/invasiveweeds/draftplan.html.
The SCDNR in conjunction with the Aquatic Plant Management Council is responsible for the management of nuisance aquatic vegetation in public waters. Each year an Aquatic Plant Management Plan is developed that identifies aquatic weed problem areas, describes management objectives, prescribes management strategies, and determines funding needs and sources. Since the inception of the hydrilla program in 1981 more than150,000 acres of invasive aquatic vegetation in public waters have been controlled to improve public access and use. Invasive species costs nationwide have continued to rise while South Carolina’s cost have remained relatively constant due to innovative, integrated control measures.
The DNR and the council seek public review and comment on the proposed Draft S.C. Aquatic Plant Management Plan. Comments and suggestions should be submitted to program staff by email at email@example.com or mail SCDNR, 2730 Fish Hatchery Road, West Columbia, SC 29170. Telephone comments will not be considered.
All comments must be received in writing or by email by March 10. No petitions will be accepted.
Marine group meets monthly
LAKE WYLIE Lake Wylie Marine Commission meets at 7 p.m. the fourth Monday of the month at various locations in York, Gaston and Mecklenburg counties. The public is invited. For more information and meeting locations, visit lakewyliemarinecommission.com.
Discounted life jackets available
BoatUS Foundation’s Kids Afloat Program is offering kid/teen-sized, vest-style life jackets for $5 each. However, supplies are limited and groups need to apply online at by Feb. 28.
The foundation will choose those applications that best match program guidelines and post them to the foundation’s website and Facebook page for public voting in the spring. Those with the most votes will have the opportunity to purchase the deeply discounted life jackets.
The life jackets are Type-II and Type-III vests – the most comfortable non-inflating type available that normally retail for about $30 each. Applicants are allowed to request up to 50 life jackets in infant, child, youth and teen sizes.
The Kids Afloat program is for groups offering on-the-water programming, such as educational boat trips, fishing trips or canoe and kayak excursions that include safe and clean boating in their curriculum. For more information, go to BoatUS.org/Kids-Afloat.
Lake info available on app
LAKE WYLIE Duke Energy has made its lake information smartphone friendly.
The site can be accessed on a smartphone at m.duke-energy.com. The default menu shows an option for “Lakes and Recreation.”
Duke Energy’s lake information Web pages – which include recreational water release schedules, lake levels and alerts – attract thousands of hits each month. The number rises steadily when heavy rainfall causes high water conditions at the lakes managed by the company.
In addition to accessing the new mobile-enabled website, boaters can check real-time lake levels and updates at duke-energy.com/lakes/levels.asp, and on Duke Energy’s lake information phone line at 800-829-5253.
Scuba club dives into events
FORT MILL The Carolina Scuba & Adventure Club meets monthly at the Towne Tavern in Fort Mill. Club members will participate in beach cleanups, including an underwater cleanup. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dive team needs volunteers
YORK COUNTY The York County Emergency Response Team is seeking volunteers to join the team.
The team does water-related search, rescue and recovery, swift water rescue, low-angle rope rescue and searches for missing people.
Scuba divers and nondivers are needed. Visit yorkcountyert.com to find out more.
For more information, call 803-372-7593.
Donations keep charity floating
Boat Angel Outreach Center is a Christian charity group based out of Arizona and funded entirely by the processing and sale of donated boats throughout the United States.
Some of the work involves getting the proper hull ID numbers. This can be challenging, as on the older vessels the vinyl factory information stickers can be unreadable due to age.
There are also difficulties such as getting non-running boats moved from a boat slip to a ramp where they can be hauled out, especially the large vessels that need to be towed. Boat Angel lists its items on eBay. Boat Angel uses the proceeds from the donated boats to fund overseas outreach and soccer programs.
In addition, Boat Angel Outreach Center produces the popular Family Films and Donkey Ollie series for teenagers and children, which are distributed at no charge to children’s home, churches and broadcast stations.
If you have a boat to sell, consider a donation to Boat Angel. For more information, visit boatangel.org or call 602-903-1844.