ADMINISTRATIVE LAW: ARTICLE: Abandoned Ship!: Legal Approaches to South Carolina's Derelict Vessel Problem Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2011 South Carolina Law Review
South Carolina Law Review

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW: ARTICLE: Abandoned Ship!: Legal Approaches to South Carolina's Derelict Vessel Problem

Summer, 2011

South Carolina Law Review

62 S.C. L. Rev. 587


Susanna Cartwright Brailsford


I. Introduction
For many years, boat tours through South Carolina's coastal waterways have carried passengers past abandoned boats. One large cabin cruiser remained moored in the marsh grass off the coast of Folly Beach in Charleston County for so long that a spray-painting vandal with a sense of humor tagged it the S. S. Minnow, after the wreck that marooned the characters on the television show Gilligan's Island. 1 The quaint vessel with the quirky nickname remained stranded for many years and served as a campy landmark until it was recently removed. 2

Most abandoned vessels, however, are not so quaint, and their number has increased dramatically in the last few years. 3 These boats must be removed from the waterways to remedy a variety of problems ranging from navigational issues to public health and environmental concerns. 4 The removal process is costly, estimated at an average of $ 8,000 to $ 10,000 per vessel. 5 Because the owners of the vessels are often unidentifiable, 6 the removal costs fall to one of several governmental bodies and, therefore, the taxpayers. 7

South Carolina officials have long been aware of the issue of abandoned vessels, as evidenced by legislation dating back to the eighteenth century 8 and by the General Assembly's recent passage of amendments to South Carolina Code section 50-21-190. 9 Despite their long-standing awareness of the issue, however, South Carolina officials have not yet achieved an efficient method of regulation. Although current counts of ...
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