Marine Patrol Unit is an interdepartmental, all volunteer unit
comprised of 9 boat operators which is a collateral duty for these
9 deputies. The unit was established as a cooperative effort
between Richland, Lexington, Saluda, and Newberry counties, all
bordering Lake Murray; creating the Lake Murray
Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force.
federal grant funding, a memorandum of agreement was signed by the
Sheriff’s giving all four Counties Marine Patrol Units jurisdiction on
all of Lake Murray. The original Marine Patrol Unit was started with
the purchase of two 20’ Grady White boats using grant funds.
In October 2008 the
department added a third boat that enhances the response capabilities
to the departments Underwater Recovery and Marine Patrol Units. The
fire and rescue boat was purchased with special revenue grant funds
through the Richland County Legislative Delegation. It is equipped
with a dive platform to deploy Underwater Operators during search,
rescue and recovery operations, with two 8’ foot doors that fold down
electronically for dive operations and rescue transport.
In 2009 the Underwater Recovery and
Marine Patrol Unit merged and formed the department's Waterborne
In 2009 the Marine
Patrol Unit and department’s Underwater Recovery Unit joined together
and are also used to support of our underwater operators in the
waterways of Richland County.
In December of 2010 land was offered
and a building was donated by a school district for a joint Marine
Patrol Headquarters for our Marine Patrol Unit and the S. C.
Department of Natural Resources, forming the Richland County Marine
Patrol Task Force. The Task Force headquarters is located at
Lighthouse Marina at 1925 Johnson Marina Road, Chapin SC.
In 2011 the department added a third
patrol boat, which was purchased with special revenue grant funds
through the Richland County Legislative Delegation. This purchase of
this vessel allows more boats on the water during special events and
holidays to cut down on boating accidents and violations through high
visibility and enforcement.
Lake Murray is 78
square miles in size with 649 miles of shoreline (approximately 50,000
acres), 41 miles long, and 14 miles wide at its widest point. It is
one of our state’s most visited lakes. The Lake Murray community has
grown exponentially, and on most weekends, hundreds of vessels take to
the lake to enjoy a variety of fishing, sailing, skiing, and diving
activities. The Richland County Sheriff’s Department Marine Patrol
Unit along with Lexington, Newberry and Saluda Counties and in
conjunction with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
keeps Lake Murray safe by maintaining a visible presence, conducting
safety and compliance checks as regulated by the state and federal
laws, and conduct property checks to homes and businesses on Lake