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State Health Department Launches Program to Relieve SC Coast of Abandoned Boats

Abandoned boats recycling program.

State Health Department Launches Program to Relieve SC Coast of Abandoned Boats

CHARLESTON — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has announced a new plan designed to offset the issue of boats left deserted along South Carolina’s coastal line. The initiative, named the Vessel Turn-In Program, offers individuals and businesses in the state’s eight coastal counties the chance to dispose of their vessels at no cost.

Addressing Environmental Hazards Posed by Derelict Vessels

The Vessel Turn-In Program aims to prevent at-risk boats from reaching the coast where they can contribute to environmental or safety hazards. Julia Chrisco, the Coastal Services Project Manager with DHEC’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, explained the threats posed by these vessels. “It can block waterways which is a navigation hazard, if it’s embedded in the marsh or oyster reefs it’s really damaging to those critical coastal environments,” Chrisco said.

The Scope of the Program and Funding

The program is designed to only cover boats on land. Sunken boats or vessels stuck in marshes, since not easily transportable, are not included in the plan. This summer, DHEC’s Ocean and Coastal Resource Management office will begin the task of dismantling the beached boats and will try to recycle as many parts as possible in an endeavor to avoid the dumping of waste in the local landfills.

The initiative has received financial backing from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grant. NOAA’s Marine Debris Program Southeast Regional Coordinator, Caroline Morris, highlighted the dual benefits of the program. “These vessels can be abandoned after becoming derelict really because of the cost of upkeep or repairs, so the turn-in program can allow someone to dispose of their vessel for no cost,” said Morris. “It keeps harmful materials out of our most sensitive ecosystems, while also reducing the financial burden on owners of unwanted or aging vessels.”

Facing the Growing Problem of Abandoned Vessels

DHEC has identified abandoned and derelict vessels as a burgeoning issue that needs attention. “It’s really expensive to pull vessels out of the water, especially when they are sunken or embedded, it can be thousands of dollars, so we’re really trying to prevent that by just giving people a resource to give us their boats,” explained Chrisco.

Participation in the Program

Those interested in participating can access the application on DHEC’s site. The organization encourages applications to be submitted by April 5th. The first vessel drop-off day will occur in Charleston County sometime in June.

This proactive approach not only helps discard unwanted or unfit vessels but also aids in preserving the coastal environment, fostering responsible use and maintaining the beauty of South Carolina’s coast for future generations to enjoy.

State Health Department Launches Program to Relieve SC Coast of Abandoned Boats Spartanburg SC

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