Barely three months ago, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and legislative leaders met in the statehouse to recognize the official startup of the South Carolina Boating and Fishing Alliance. Since then, SCBFA has wasted no time becoming active statewide, in this case by launching a clean water and habitat protection campaign.
The “Back Your Water” campaign teams up SCBFA with the non-profit Global Eco Adventures organization. Back Your Water will get a major boost when the first-ever South Carolina Boating and Fishing Week, as declared by the General Assembly, is observed the week of June 7-13.
“Boating and fishing are South Carolina’s most popular outdoor recreational activities, and we all are responsible for protecting our natural resources for future generations,” says Gettys Brannon, CEO of the SCBFA. “Global Eco Adventures is an organization that has long recognized the importance of our state’s waterways.”
South Carolina is headquarters for more than 30 major boat and fishing tackle brands that represent 3.1 percent of the state’s GDP. Fishing licenses alone contribute $6.7 million to the state’s economy. And while South Carolina is the 23rd most populous state, it ranks seventh in the nation in registered boats per capita. (One in 10 residents have a registered boat.)
“We are proud to stand with SCBFA as part of the Back Your Water campaign,” said GEA chairman Tom Mullikin. “SCBFA is an important voice protecting our state’s waterways, and every dollar contributed to GEA will go directly to our programs for floodwater monitors, habitat restoration and water cleanups.”
GEA’s mission is to heighten awareness of environmental sustainability by educating people about protecting areas with fragile ecosystems for future generations. GEA seeks to increase conservation efforts and volunteerism by immersing students in research efforts that are underrepresented in science, technology, mathematics and engineering, focusing on expanding scientific insights.
As a fundraiser, the sale of Back Your Water T-shirts will benefit the GEA’s education and conservation efforts. Initially, the shirts will feature four of the state’s premier waterways: Lake Hartwell, Lake Wylie, Lake Murray and Santee Cooper lakes. The shirts are made by Local Boy Outfitters of Columbia, S.C.
Brannon and Mullikin also expressed their appreciation to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources for its advice and its support for Back Your Water. Anyone involved in any part of South Carolina’s marine industry is encouraged to buy a shirt ($40). Proceeds go to GEA initiatives for clean water, habitat enhancement and floodwater monitoring.