Moved by one hurricane, picked up by another—a new fate is in the works for the iconic Folly boat. The boat washed away during hurricane Irma and currently sitting in a James Island backyard. On Tuesday, Folly Beach city council members were expected to vote on a new permanent location.
While no one owns the boat, the City of Folly unofficially adopted it after Hurricane Hugo. But the process this time around is not exactly fluid. Council member DJ Rich said there’s a lot of red tape, requiring permits with the Department of Transportation.
“There are a little more restrictions with DOT than before. Before it was just freedom of speech, whoever wants to paint can paint whatever they want on it,” Rich said. “This time, it can’t be used for business advertising, you can’t put phone numbers on it, no derogatory messages, obscenities of that sort. Some of those things were beginning to be a pain before, so hopefully this time around, everybody works together a little bit.”
Four months after Hurricane Irma, Chris John has no choice but to go with the flow. The Folly boat is still stuck in his backyard.
“It’s been a process of accepting the way things are,” said John. “You get this huge 20-ton boat float up in your backyard and that’s just the way things are.”
The boat may soon anchor at a new spot off Folly Road, not far from its former location. Eric Draper, founder of Save the Folly Boat is helping with the process.
“We can go to the moon, I feel confident we can figure out a good way to move the boat safely off Chris’s property,” Draper said. “I feel like we can do it, it’s more where’s it going to go, how are we going to do it, who’s going to help, how do we make sure the liability is cared for.”
But physically moving it is not easy and not cheap. John said the process will likely costs tens of thousands of dollars.
“The boat has huge holes in it, like four-foot holes and so it can’t be floated,” John said. “It’s hard to get a boat in, it’s a big mud flat, so it’s hard to get a boat in there and if they were going to roll marsh mats, it would totally destroy the marsh all around there. There’s also other concerns (about) lifting it up with cranes, the structure of the boat could fold in.”
Draper said they’ll launch a Go Fund Me account to help with the costs. He said they’re hopeful Save the Folly Boat will be officially registered as a non-profit within a few weeks.
“We’re planning to raise all of the money through private donations to be able to do this. We don’t know how much that is yet, so give us a little leeway,” said Draper. “It’s a great way to be part of the legacy. We’re going to work on it, get it back and let the legacy live on.”
Folly Beach City Council Member, D.J. Rich said late Tuesday night that there's been no decision by the council on where the boat should be permanently be anchored.
City council has postponed the vote until March when they get more information.