Marine Debris Initiative
Abandoned Vessel Removal
Marine debris is a serious threat to South Carolina's marshes, creeks and rivers. Beyond being eyesores, abandoned vessels may damage the marsh and oyster beds, degrade water quality and impair the safety of navigation and recreational use of the waterway. Debris may also threaten wildlife populations if pollutants such as oil and gasoline are leaked. The preservation and restoration of working waterfronts and scenic views is also often a cornerstone of local coastal economies.
Since 2004, DHEC has worked with federal, state and local partners to leverage the removal of over 90 abandoned vessels from coastal waterways stretching from Horry County to Hilton Head. However, this program does not relieve boat owners from their responsibility to properly manage and dispose of their vessels.
Identification, Reduction and Prevention through Community-based Education and Action
In 2009, DHEC partnered with the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium and other organizations to enhance public awareness of the abandoned vessel problem and to recruit volunteers to assist with the identification and preliminary assessment of abandoned vessel sites. Once verified by DHEC staff, the detailed inventory of sites will be used to raise awareness among stakeholders and decision makers and support future removal funding requests.
Towards the Future
Keeping South Carolina's waters free of marine debris and abandoned vessels will continue to be a daunting challenge. In order for our efforts to succeed, a long-term strategy must be developed and implemented. DHEC will continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to:
Removal of an abandoned shrimp trawler from the
Cooper River near Charleston (2004).