One of the initial goals of the Santee Cooper project was to establish a route for inland navigation from Columbia to Charleston. This route is marked from the point where the Santee River enters Lake Marion to the lock at the Pinopolis Dam on Lake Moultrie.
This 162-mile system provides a clearly defined waterway through which boats can safely navigate the lakes. The maps provided on this page are to be used as a guide to recreational use of the Santee Cooper Lakes and are not intended to replace any navigational chart.
All markers are shown in approximate positions. Odd numbered, square, green markers define the port (left) side of the channel, while even numbered, triangular, red markers define the starboard (right) side of the channel. Steer between these markers when navigating the channel.
When encountering an oncoming boat, steer to the starboard side of the channel. For your safety, please heed rock markers and all other navigation buoys. Do not swim in the channel or tie off to the concrete piles that hold the channel markers.
Be aware the same submerged trees and stumps that provide habitat for the abundant marine life and game fish of the Santee Cooper Lakes also pose a hazard to the unfamiliar boater. Use caution when navigating outside the marked channels. A safe channel defined by red and green buoys crosses Lake Marion at marker 62. Call 843-761-7008 if you encounter any problems using the navigation system.