South Carolina sees increase in abandoned boats

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Officials in South Carolina are concerned about a growing number of large abandoned boats dotting the Intracoastal Waterway.

"These boats are just junk laying out here in the middle of the waterway," Ronald McManus, with the Freedom Boat Group, told television station WMBF. "It is just ridiculous for our tourists to come down here and see, and it's a very serious problem."

Horry County councilman Brent Schulz agreed something needs to be done to resolve what he calls a growing problem.

"I think part of it has to do with the economy," he told the television station. "I think people cannot afford to pay the dockage to keep the boats up and they leave the boats abandoned."

According to Schulz, the county does not have the means or jurisdiction to resolve the issue alone.

"The waterway is considered navigable waters of the U.S., so it's going to involve a federal agency or even the state of South Carolina, and I've made calls and I've tried to get on top of this," said Schulz. "I've been told by different groups such as the EPA, Coast Guard and Army Corp of Engineers that it's a lack of funding or it's not their jurisdiction or there's several reasons that I get."

According to Robert McCullough with the state's Department of Natural Resources, the agency identifies the abandoned boats, but local agencies with the county or city where the boats are left are supposed to remove them.

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