Marine Patrol Unit

The Bluffton Police Department's Marine Patrol Unit patrols the May River and surrounding waterways to both enforce the boating laws, educate boaters, as well as give aid/assistance to boaters in distress. The Marine Patrol Unit also works with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to achieve their goals. Marine Patrol officers have received special training in boat operation, boating documentation, board and entry techniques, boat safety inspection, seamanship and boating safety, in general, as well as training in federal, state and local laws concerning water traffic.

Meet the Team

  • Lieutenant Joe George
  • Officer Akil Brown
  • Officer Oscar Frazier
  • Officer Brian Grant
  • Officer Marc Robson

Launches and Docks

There are several public boat launches in the greater Bluffton area. Oyster Factory Park, located on Wharf Street, is the only public launch site located in the Town of Bluffton. Other area boat launches in our area within Beaufort County can be found HERE.

The Town of Bluffton has three public docks: Oyster Factory Park (63 Wharf Street), Calhoun Street Regional Dock (110 Calhoun Street) and Palmetto Bluff (19 Village Park Square).

  1. Joe George

    Lieutenant - Patrol Operations

Boater Etiquette

  • Launch your boat or watercraft as fast as possible on busy weekends or holidays. It is preferable to have one boat driver and a separate driver for the trailer.
  • Once your boat is launched, please leave the dock and drift in the water nearby until the rest of your passengers are ready to board.
  • Please DO NOT intentionally or unnecessarily cause a wake for docks, boats, paddle boarders, kayakers and swimmers.
  • Please stay as far away from docks as possible (tide permitting). The minimum distance required by law is 50 feet.
  • Please make sure you have a designated operator if drinking occurs on the boat.
  • Please check the weather and tides before leaving home. The following apps can be installed: Weather App (weather.com), Tide Apps (Nautide, Aqua Map).
  • Please familiarize yourself with your boat or watercraft BEFORE going on the water.
  • Please load all necessary gear, food, drinks, etc. BEFORE going to the boat launch area.
  • When tubing or water skiing, be aware of others around you.
  • Familiarize yourself with all of the sandbars and low areas. Be especially aware of these at low tide.
  • Jet skis and other smaller personal watercraft should utilize the shallowest water area around the dock.

Correct way to pass another boat

How to correctly pass other boats diagram
Right of way for different typs of vessels diagram