Motor Boating

Boating Certification Process 

Certification is required for motor boat use at the Grice Marine Laboratory. The steps are outlined below:

Complete the online boater certification course  approved by the SC Department of Natural Resources. 
Documentation of completion must be provided to the Marine Operations Manager.

  1. Participate in a Grice boat training class (contact Marine Operations Manager for more information).
  2. Complete a minimum of three boat trips. It is recommended that at least one of the trips be conducted on the boat to be used.
  3. Complete a Checkout with the Marine Operations Manager. Conducted under manager supervision, the vessel operator completes one trip to the demonstrate working knowledge of boat safety, area of operation and boat. Checkouts are boat specific.


  1. Check availability of boat and⁄or truck. This can be found on the board located outside the Marine Operations Manager’s office (116). If the boat is available, the vessel operator must reserve the boat on this board. Boats are available for use on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  2. Complete a float plan. The float plan must be approved by the Marine Operations Manager (Pete Meier) or the Lab Manager before launch. Please note that uncompleted sections will delay approval of the float plan. Trips scheduled for a weekday should be submitted 12 hours in advance. Trips scheduled for weekends must be submitted before noon on Friday. If crew members change, it must be noted on the float plan prior to leaving. All crew members must complete an emergency information sheet if they do not have one on file.
  3. Weather on the water can change abruptly so a weather check must be made just prior to launch. Note - Boats cannot be operated under a small craft advisory!
  4. Collect and inspect the required equipment (see below) for the voyage.
  5. Conduct pre-voyage maintenance: Check oil and gas levels; charge boat and VHF batteries; start engine; check trailer, lights and tires for problems; inspect bridle if required.
  6. Transport boat to launch site. Check tilt safety latch. Install plugs.


  1. Notify the Marine Operations Manager (Pete Meier) of your return. If the voyage occurs on the weekend, the Marine Operations Manager must be notified prior to launch as well.
  2. Report any problems or accidents to the Marine Operations Manager. These must be recorded on the vessel log.
  3. Refill gas tank of boat and truck. The boats use premium gas and the truck uses plus grade.
  4. Remove all drain plugs.
  5. Flush the motor with fresh water. Double flush if operation occurred in shallow water.
  6. Wash boat, trailer, and motor with soap and water. Rinsing with fresh water will not remove the salt deposits.
  7. Return gear and equipment including boat registration and gas card. Stow boat in its proper place.
  8. Complete vessel log (page 2 of float plan) and leave with float plan on clipboard outside of the Marine Operations Manager’s office.

Required Equipment

Boat Registration

The registration cards for each boat can be found in the Marine Operations Manager's office (room 116). There is one card for each boat. The cards should be placed in a dry box while on the boat. They must be returned to the box after the voyage is complete.

Personal Flotation Devices

The boat must be equipped with one PFD per person.  There are several different styles available. They are hanging on the right as you enter the boat shed.

Fire Extinguisher

Extinguishers are mounted on the Chamberlain and Whaler. The Jon Boat does not have a mounted extinguisher. Extra extinguishers are located in the boat shed next to the PFDs.

Whistle or Horn

These are required on all vessels. They can be used to hail other boats if they are not monitoring the VHF radio. These are stored in the dry boxes located in the boat shed on a shelf to the left.

Visual Distress Signals

These are to be used in an emergency ONLY. Firing a flare when not in distress could result in a Class D felony charge, six years in prison, up to $250,000 in fines and reimbursement of all costs the Coast Guard incurs as a result of the false distress. Check the dates to ensure the flares are not expired. They are stored in the dry boxes located in the boat shed on a shelf to the left.

Tool Kit

There are three different tool kits be available for use on the boats. If these tools get wet, please rinse them and spray them with anti-corrosive spray located in the boat shed in the orange dry boxes on the shelf.

Anchor and Line

At least 100 feet of line should available for use with the anchor. Two anchors maybe required in some situations. 
The Chamberlain and Whaler each have one anchor under the front hatch. Additional anchors can be found in the boat shed underneath the work bench.

First Aid Kit

The first aid kits are stored in the boat shed. The kits contain general first aid supplies and a list of emergency phone numbers. The kits should be put in a dry box during boat operation. If supplies are used, please notify the lab manager.

Potable Water

Water can be the key to survival in an emergency. Don’t leave home without it!

VHF Radio and Cell Phone

The VHF radios are located in the Marine Operations manager's office (116). Be sure they are charged and functioning. At least one cell phone is also required on the boat. This is the best way to reach the Marine Operations Manager.

Other Equipment Available

The following equipment is not required for boat operation, but may be helpful in conducting research. All of the equipment below must be checked out prior to useConsult the Marine Operations Manager for storage locations.

Navigation Aids

Charts of various local waterways are available from the lab manager. The Chamberlain has a combination GPS⁄depth finder.

Depth Finder

The Lowe jon boat and Whaler are both equipped with depth finder.


Plankton, dip and seine nets are available for sampling organisms. They should be rinsed well with fresh water immediately after use.

Gloves, Boots and Waders

These items can be very helpful, but be careful of the oyster beds because they can damage the equipment. These items must be washed with water and a scrub brush after use to remove salt and pluff mud. Report any equipment damage to the lab manager.


The buckets are located in the wet lab. There are a limited number of buckets, so please be considerate and return them immediately after use.