Abandoned boats litter the Intracoastal Waterway in S.C.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. _ A boat tilted on its side hangs off the marsh near the Intracoastal Waterway in Little River, S.C., mud seeping up its deck and water filling its white hull.

At some point in its life, the Endeavor probably was a favorite possession used for weekend adventures and fishing trips, but now it sits abandoned and run partially aground near the Cricket Cove Marina. It's one of a growing number of boats that are littering the Waterway, creating eyesores and potential navigational issues. They also may be creating environmental hazards by leaking contaminants such as motor oil or human sewage into the waterway.

Removing the boats, however, has been a convoluted process complicated by overlapping jurisdictions and little to no funding help available.

Abandoned boats that have been run aground or anchored in navigation channels have become an increasing issue nationwide, with hundreds of boats being pulled from the water and destroyed in popular boating towns like Miami and along the Gulf Coast every year.

According to a log from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, 240 abandoned boats have been reported along the coastal waterways and rivers in South Carolina in the past few years, and more than half were found to be derelict _ without an owner and in bad enough shape to be unsalvageable.

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