As summer rolls around this weekend, hordes of boaters will hit the water for the floating festivities of Memorial Day weekend.

Some will be well-prepared with the right safety gear and a vessel in good condition. Others may find that their boat is not up to snuff.

“Depending on the weather, we get a lot of calls from people in trouble. A boat in distress and taking on water,” said Charleston Police Sgt. Chad Womack.

Add drinking skippers to the mix and this holiday becomes one of the most challenging for marine law enforcement.

“Anything that happens on land it pretty much happens on the water,” Womack said.

Most of what is expected to keep officials busy over the three-day weekend is safety checks for things such as regulation life jackets, a whistle or horn that can be heard a half-mile away, valid registration and night navigation lights, he said.

There are approximately 450,000 recreational motorboats currently registered in South Carolina. In 2011 there were 19 boating fatalities with 98 accidents.

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