LITTLE RIVER, S.C. (WBTW) — There are about 20 abandoned boats in Horry County, SC waterways, but the United States Coast Guard, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and a Lowcountry-founded veterans group are working to change that.
Wounded Nature Working Veterans, a nonprofit group, organized Wednesday’s cleanup, working with the Coast Guard and DNR crews to clear five vessels from the Intracoastal Waterway.
“For years, we’ve had a lot of abandoned boats in Horry County,” Lance Cpl. Joel Chanaca, a DNR wildlife officer said.
Before any boat is removed, the DNR sends a letter to the owner if they can recover its registration. If the owner doesn’t reply, the boat is tagged and the person has 45 days to respond before the boat is considered litter.
“Sometimes they come into hardships,” Chanaca said. “A lot of times storms have a play in the matter. They’ve got it anchored, they don’t secure it before a hurricane, it takes on water and it gets grounded, and they can’t afford to salvage it and get it lifted and towed.”
Whit Jones is the South Carolina Director for Wounded Nature Working Veterans. He said Wednesday’s cleanup was monumental because the organization removed its 100th vessel.
“The impact we have is taking the toxins out of the marsh,” Jones said. “So, the shrimp, the fish can flourish. We take these fiberglass hazards out of the waterways, because they are a hazard to marine life and boaters’ navigation as well.”
The city of North Myrtle Beach contributed dumpsters and Back Water Towing donated a barge for the afternoon to help with the cleanup. To learn more about Wounded Nature Working Veterans, click here.