As important as the upcoming Memorial Day observance is as a period of remembrance, it also represents in states such as South Carolina the official beginning of the boating season.

That’s a big deal for a state that ranks in the top 10 in the total number of boats.

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Memorial Day will involve warnings about enforcement of boating laws, from required emergency gear to obeying the laws of the waterways -- the increasingly crowded waterways. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources and allied agencies will be out in force. They will be there to help and be there to write citations where necessary.

As necessary as the stick is in maintaining order in the boating world, there also must be the carrot. After all, boating is all about fun.

That’s the purpose of the National Fishing and Boating Week celebration that begins in the days after Memorial Day.

National Fishing and Boating Week focuses on increasing the enjoyment of fishing and boating and promoting environmental stewardship. The celebration is about reconnecting families through fishing and boating.

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National Fishing and Boating Week is a key component of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s national awareness campaign. The initiative previously has been nominated for a national Fatherhood Award for making a substantial contribution to strengthening involved, committed and responsible fatherhood.

Fishing and boating provide a positive experience that the entire family can enjoy together.

• Studies have shown that being with family and friends, relaxing, and being outdoors and close to nature are the primary reasons people boat and fish.

• Many Americans believe that outdoor recreation strengthens the family as a unit and the children as individuals.

• Studies also show people who participate frequently in outdoor recreation are more satisfied with life overall.

Also, 90 percent of Americans say outdoor recreation gives people a reason to care about natural resources.

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We hope so, since the increasing number of people puts increasing pressure on natural areas. It goes beyond appreciation. It’s responsibility.

And that brings full circle the topic of boating and fishing: laws to keep it safe, fun and family, responsibility to protect people and places.

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