Boat Rentals and Safety On Upstate Lakes

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Thinking about enjoying summer with a boat rental on an Upstate, SC lake? We’ve gathered information about boat rental options in Upstate, SC and how to stay safe.

We’d like to thank Eclectic Sun At Lake Jocassee for donating their time and knowledge to this article.

Lake Jocassee is a beautiful place, and with a few safety precautions everyone can have a magical day on the lake. 

Eclectic Sun on Jocassee Lake

Eclectic Sun has Pontoon Boats available to rent. But before you grab your swimsuits, fishing rods, and cameras there are some things we need to go over first. 

Is Renting a Boat a Good Fit For Your Family?

Before you decide that boat rental is a good fit for your family, there are some things you’ll need to know. 

  • Eclectic Sun will only rent to people that are experienced in boat handling. If no one in your party has boating experience, then Eclectic Sun also offers canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and floating islands for you to enjoy safely. 
  • Pets are not allowed on the pontoon boats.
  • Cooking surfaces such as grills are prohibited.
  • There are no age or weight minimums, however everyone must have and wear a PFD (Coast Guard Approved Life Vest) at all times on the water. The law only requires passengers to have a PFD for each passenger on board the vessel, but as a renter you must keep it on. 
  • Only groups of 10 or less are permitted on the boat. 
  • Overnight rentals of pontoon boats aren’t permitted. They must be returned each night. 

If you’ve got an experienced boater in your group and you’re ready to hit the lake, great! If not, don’t fret, there’s still another option if you want to take a trip out. You can contact Eclectic Sun to arrange for a tour of the lake, similar to what we experienced.

life jackets

What You Should Know About Life Jackets

Once you have your reservation on the books, you’ll need to plan for your day on the lake. The tour company requires all passengers get fitted for and wear a life jacket for the entire time they are on the boat.

  1. Life Jacket Visibility: Dark blue, green, and purple colors are more difficult to see in the water. Select a life jacket with bright colors that will clearly be seen in the water.
  2. Life Jacket Comfort: Since you should be wearing your life jacket at all times while in the water, comfort should be paramount. While no life jacket is going to be amazingly comfortable, it needs to fit well, but it should also be comfortable.
  3. Life Jacket USCG Certification: Don’t ever purchase a PFD that doesn’t have the USCG stamp inside. There are several different classifications of approval that the USCG will give to a vest. 

Tips for Getting to the Water and Staying Safe

pontoon boat

Keeping in mind that all of the state parks are very busy on the weekends right now, you’ll want to allow time to get into the park and get to the pavilion in time for your reservation. It is recommended that you arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your reservation. Be sure to have your reservation info handy. If the park is at capacity, as it often is on weekends, this will get you past the ranger station when everyone else is getting turned away.
You will still need to pay the entry fee into Devil’s Fork State Park, unless you have an SC State Park Passport

Once parked, you’ll head into the pavilion. While your party is signing documents and getting fitted for PFDs if needed, make sure restroom breaks are taken. There is no bathroom on the pontoon boat. Your entire party will load on the boat while it’s in the parking lot, and then the equipment manager will drop the boat into the water on the adjacent side of the inlet. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you have boating experience. Bodies of water can vary so asking what to watch for can save you trouble later. 

A question we asked Gary that is a common anomaly while on the water at Lake Jocassee: What do you do when you’re out in the middle of the lake and an electrical storm comes rolling over the mountains without warning? 

He told us to NEVER try to race back to the dock. When you’re out on the lake in a boat, kayak, canoe, or paddleboard; you are the highest thing on the lake. You’re like a lightning rod waiting to get zapped. Plus, if everyone were to race back to the few boat slips on the shores of Lake Jocassee, there’d be a bottleneck of vessels trying to get out of the water all at once. 

Instead he suggests you head for the safest, closest place to hug the shore. Keep your eye on the depth finder, so you don’t get stuck and get as close to the shore as you can until the storm passes. 

These are the kind of “Unique-to-Jocassee” tips that could keep you and your family safe on the lake. 

Jocassee

Tips for Having Fun Out On The Water

Once you’re out on the water there’s several things you can do for fun. 

  • There are several beautiful waterfalls that are only accessible by boat.
  • You can park the boat somewhere and go fishing. Children under 18 don’t need a fishing license if an adult in your group has one and is present. 
  • You could find a spot somewhere and relax on the boat, or in the water swimming. Just take note, that the boats cannot be beached.
  • You can rent a water sport item (or bring your own) to tow behind the boat. The boats are equipped with a tow bar especially for these activities. 

Keep in mind that you will be responsible for refilling the gas tank to full when you return.

More Places to Rent Boats in the Upstate

Tri-County Boat Rental
864.617.9187

  • Boat rentals for Lake Keowee, Lake Jocassee, and Lake Hartwell
  • Ski Boats
  • Pontoons
  • Deck Boats
  • Tritoons
  • Water Toys and Accessories

Lake Jocassee Boat Rentals

Jocassee Outdoor Center
516 Jocassee Lake Road, Salem
864.944.9016

  • Pontoons
  • Tritoons
  • Ski Boats
  • Deck Boats
  • Kayaks
  • Water Toys

Lake Keowee Boat Rentals

Lake Keowee Boat Rentals
111 Surgical Boulevard, Seneca
864.280.2726

  • Tritoons
  • Waverunners
  • Water Toys

Keowee Marina
150 Keowee Marina Drive, Seneca
864.882.2047

  • Pontoons
  • Tritoons
  • Sport-toons
  • Canoes and Kayaks
  • Paddleboards

High Falls Boat Rentals
864.309.8160

  • Pontoons
  • Ski Boats
  • Deck Boats

Unlimited Outfitters
South Cove County Park, 1099 South Cove Road, Seneca
High Falls County Park, 671 High Falls Road, Seneca

  • Kayaks
  • Paddleboards
  • Pontoons

Lake Hartwell Boat Rentals

Big Water Marina
320 Big Water Road, Starr
864.266.3339

  • Pontoons
  • Kayaks
  • Hydrobikes
  • Paddleboards

Young Harris Watersports & RV
706.896.0834

  • Jet Skis
  • Ski Boats
  • Tritoons
  • Wakeboats

Have you been out on the lake in a boat? What’s your favorite thing to do? 

Kidding Around Team Members
About the Author
How does Kidding Around® bring readers high-quality and up-to-date content month after month and season after season? We have a dedicated team of writers and editors who regularly update our fabulous content to keep it current and relevant for our readers. This team combs lists of events, heads out into the community to experience new Upstate offerings, and communicates with local businesses. Many of our updated articles and event lists, like this one, reflect the contributions and hard work of multiple Kidding Around® team members.

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