Folly Boat

The Folly Boat in 2001. File/Staff

FOLLY BEACH — This city will take at least a few more weeks before deciding whether to sign any deal that would return the Folly Boat to Folly Road.

City Council postponed a decision Tuesday night, and Mayor Tim Goodwin said Wednesday city leaders will wait to meet with leaders of a new nonprofit that is forming to help move the boat back.

"This is not a time sensitive matter for us," he said. "Council has a lot of questions."

The boat became an unofficial landmark for Folly after Hurricane Hugo washed it up next to the road in 1989. Since then, it was repainted with different messages weekly, sometimes daily, until it was washed away by Tropical Storm Irma in September.

Governments have wrestled to respond to public calls for the boat's return. The state Department of Transportation has asked the city to agree to 22 special conditions, including monitoring all messages painted on the boat and removing them if they're commercial or profane.

Goodwin said those conditions would pose a new cost to the city. While that's not necessarily a deal-breaker, he wants assurance that those costs won't get out of hand.

"There are some things we need to talk through," he said.

Supporters of Save the Folly Boat, a new nonprofit, plan to raise the money necessary to move the boat from its current location at a dock off Sol Legare Road to a DOT-approved site next to the Folly Creek bridge. Earlier this week, Chris John, a Save the Folly Boat spokesman, expressed confidence that the nonprofit would meet its goal.

Goodwin said council members likely will meet with the nonprofit soon to discuss how they might work together to meet to monitor the boat once it's back.

"It's going to take more city time than it ever did before," he said. "How much do we want to spend our time and effort and manpower out there?"

Reach Robert Behre at 843-937-5771. Follow him on Twitter @RobertFBehre.