Women learn water navigation at “Ladies’ Day on the Lake”

By Karamie Sullivan

The ladies got their day in the sun, except it was overcast.

The Lake Murray Resort and Marina hosted the 17th annual “Ladies’ Day on the Lake” Tuesday.

The day-long class is an effort to teach them how to back a boat trailer down a ramp into the water and navigate a boat to the dock. The women also got lessons on jet-ski driving and boating education. The event was created by the Lake Murray Association’s Executive Director, Joy Downs back in 2000.

I heard about a woman on the lake whose husband passed out on the boat, and the woman didn’t know how to navigate, which bothered me so much. It dawned on me that many women may not know how to drive boats. So I said we should solve this problem, and that is how this event began,” said Downs.

The classes were instructed by officers from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The boats and jet skis were provided by Fifty Fifty Watersports and SCDNR.

Attendant Maureen Renzi is new to the Midlands area and has never driven a boat before. She recently moved to Chapin and used this day to gain confidence in her boating skills.

It is really fun learning about everything, I can’t wait to get back home and take a boat out all by myself,” Renzi said.

The idea that this class was just for women is what drew me to it, it was less intimidating because I saw everyone coming into this as being on a level-playing field, wanting to learn.”

Since adults do not have to have any sort of license to drive a boat, this allows many people to jump into the driver’s seat without knowing what they may be doing. Lake Murray Association President Dave Landis believes that Tuesday’s event for women helps reduce the complications.

We have found out that ignorance is the biggest issue on the lake, people don’t know the rules. You can buy a boat and take it right into the water without knowing what you’re doing,” Landis said. “We try to expose these women to everything they need to know to educate themselves.”

Even for people like Downs who have been to this event every year, there is always an opportunity to learn more. “I’ve probably been on the water since 1962, and I still learn something new every time I come here,” she said.

PHOTOS – ColaDaily/Karamie Sullivan.

Categories: Batesburg-Leesville, Cayce, Chapin, Columbia, Education, Gilbert, Irmo, Lexington, Lexington County, Pelion, Richland County, Swansea, West Columbia