Some boaters in Columbia County are concerned. In recent weeks, their boats have been cited for breaking rules they didn’t know existed.
Every day, boater Bruce Disher comes to boat ramp number two at Lake Thurmond to drop his pontoon in the water and take off.
But it hasn’t always been this way.
“Right beside this blue boat, where I’ve been parking for probably the last eight years,” Disher said.
That’s when he received a citation. And he’s not alone. Other boaters on the lake have been warned as well and they’re not happy.
“It’s kind of hard a lot of time by myself. No one’s around there to help me with it,” said Renee Hicks, boater.
Representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers say it’s their policy not to comment on legal action on camera, but in statements, they did shed some light on why the boats were cited and what could happen next.
Corps spokesperson Jeanne Hodge said anyone who leaves a boat unattended on the shore for more than 24 hours is violating federal law.
She said the Corps has tried for years and made every effort to contact the boaters involved… without success. The next step could include impounding the boats.
Hodge and Thurmond Operations Project Manager Ken Dial say the illegal parking is a safety concern, but they could not specify how. They both say they would consider doing more to educate boaters.
But these boaters might not be around that long.
“We pay a lot of taxes up here not to be able to utilize this lake. It doesn’t make any sense. Why live here if you can’t use it?” Disher said.