The Folly Boat will soon have a new home.
Save the Folly Boat, a nonprofit that is working to restore the 50-foot long metal vessel that served as an unofficial Folly Beach landmark for nearly 30 years, has found a location on private property and is working to finalize terms with the landowner, said Eric Draper, a member of the organization's board.
The new location will not be announced for at least another two weeks but residents can look forward to visiting and painting the boat again, Draper said.
"It is free expression at its finest," he said.
The boat washed up next to Folly Road during Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and was repainted, sometimes daily, with messages from residents and visitors. In 2017, Tropical Storm Irma floated it loose and it crashed into a dock off Sol Legare Road owned by Chris John.
The Folly Boat's fate has remained in limbo ever since.
Despite public calls for the boat to be moved back off Folly Road, government officials have wrestled with how to do so.
The state Department of Transportation asked the city to agree to 22 special conditions, including monitoring all messages painted on the boat and removing them if they are commercial or profane.
The boat's future site on private property averts a potential setback for the project.
On Tuesday, the Folly Beach Town Council heard from Thomas Young, a property owner near a previously proposed, DOT-approved site for the boat next to the Folly Creek bridge.
Young said he was opposed to the site near the bridge and that he was concerned about safety.
Traffic congestion and lack of visibility on the bridge would likely lead to crashes, he said.
Other property owners have also signed petitions opposing the boat's relocation next to the bridge.
In addition, one property owner has yet to weigh in and relocation to that site can't proceed without his input, said Mayor Tim Goodwin.
Draper, who could not attend Tuesday's council meeting and spoke by phone to The Post and Courier, said he wanted to emphasize that the nonprofit will not use public, taxpayer funds to move the Folly Boat from its current location.
All funding will come through money raised by private donations to Save the Folly Boat, he said.
A page for anyone interested in donating to the Folly Boat relocation effort will be set up in the near future on GoFundMe.com, Draper said.