Charleston is on a peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and Charleston Harbor, fed by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. This unique location provides boaters with access to a variety of different waterways, including saltwater, freshwater, and marsh environments.

All GetMyBoat operators must obey all local boating laws and regulations. This includes getting the right permits and registrations, meeting all vessel and captain requirements, using the correct docks and boating areas for commercial activities, and anything else required by your local laws and facility rules.

To help Getmyboat operators comply with all applicable regulations, we have gathered the following essential details for boating in Charleston:

Vessel Registration

All motorboats and other powered watercraft, except for those that are exempt, sailboats, and outboard motors with less than 5 horsepower, must be titled and registered in South Carolina. This applies to both boat owners and renters.

Commercial Insurance

GetMyBoat does not provide insurance, so you must have appropriate insurance for your watercraft before renting or chartering it. We recommend Boat Charter Insurance.

Captain's License

A captain's license is required on all open waterways. To be a boat captain, you need a U.S. Coast Guard license.

  • If you have more than 6 passengers, you need a Master Captain's license.
  • If you have 6 or fewer passengers, you need a 6-pack/OUPV license.

To learn more about how to get a captain's license, visit the Mariners Learning System website. Apply the code GETMYBOAT10 to enjoy a 10% discount.

More information can be found here on selecting the correct captain options

  • Captain included in the price
  • Captain arranged separately
  • Captain not included

Boaters Education

South Carolina law will require anyone born after July 1, 2007, to have a boating safety certificate, US Coast Guard license, merchant marine credential, or valid boat rental safety certificate to operate a boat, personal watercraft, or specialty propcraft with 10 horsepower or more.

Personal Watercraft

Jet skis (PWCs) have extra rules in South Carolina. Riders must be at least 16 years old and wear a life jacket at all times. Jet skis cannot be driven closer than 100 feet to the shore in some places, like swimming areas, boat ramps, and docks.

Commercial Fishing

To commercially fish in South Carolina, you must obtain a commercial saltwater license. You can apply for a license online or at a DNR office. In addition to the license, you may also need to purchase one or more permits, depending on the type of fishing you plan to do.

Passenger Pick Up/ Drop Off:

Many locations permit boat drop-offs and pickups for rentals, and here are a couple with designated passenger areas. Before your arrangements, make sure to confirm the pickup and drop-off policies with the marina or dock.

  • The Harborage at Ashley Marina: Located at 33 Lockwood Dr, Charleston, SC 29401
  • Charleston Harbor Marina: Located at 10 Wharfside St, Charleston, SC 29401