Abandoned boat removal begins

Part of this boat, which is made from cement, will be left in place when Folly Beach's effort to remove old, abandoned boats begins. Officials have been told that this old wreck attracts fish, and thus people who want to catch them.

FOLLY BEACH — Crews began removing abandoned boats from the Folly River and its environs Monday, clearing away aging hulks that have become eyesores and hazards to navigation and wildlife.

Mayor Carl Beckmann Jr. said Salmons Dredging Corp. had removed four boats and was working on a fifth by mid-day. Folly Beach officials hope to remove about five more abandoned boats as the project moves forward, he said.

Salmons, a Charleston-based marine contractor, submitted the low bid of $29,950 for the project. Folly Beach officials expect the work will cost more than that, as some changes have been made to the original plans. One wreck, for example, was determined to be a magnet for fish. Its submerged bow will be left in place to serve as an artificial reef and the area will be marked by buoys, Beckmann said.

Folly Beach has sufficient funds to cover the added work, with a total of $61,196 set aside for removing the boats. About $46,000 of that money came from a state Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management grant, and a little more than $15,000 was put up by the city in matching funds.

While pleased with the first day's progress, Beckmann said he expects the pace to slow a bit as crews work to remove a couple of the more difficult wrecks in the days to come.