Horry County fishing charters see increase in abandoned boats


LITTLE RIVER, SC (WBTW) – The number of abandoned boats is on the rise in Horry County.

This is not only a pain for the community, but also a danger, according to Patrick Kelly, owner of Captain Smiley’s Fishing Charter.

“I see the problem getting worse, the most recent was a few weeks ago,” he said.

In 2010, Horry County Councilor Brent Schulz helped fund the removal of the abandoned boats, but Kelly says the problem is on the rise again.

He has seen two new boats in the past six months, and several that have shown up in the past two years on the Intracoastal Waterway.

With the rise in dockage and fuel prices, Kelly said people were losing their minds eventually.

“Instead of paying for the dockage or taking the boat out, they just threw it in the swamp and walked away,” he said.

In 2016, the Ministry of Health and Environmental Control implemented the Abandoned and Derelict Vessel (ADV) program to work on reducing the number of problems. However, Kelly said there was still a lack of accountability.

“People want to have the experience of having a boat,” he said. “They don’t realize the cost of having a boat.”

And with abandoned boats sunk underwater, Kelly said it also puts public safety at risk.

“It’s dangerous. We have more people moving to our area, more people on boats, boats sailing that don’t know the area, if they hit a sunken ship that they don’t know, they could cause an accident, ”Kelly said.

According to Kelly, the best way to fix this problem is really simple. He said you have to think twice before buying a boat and make sure future owners can afford the expenses that come with it.


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