Boats hitting bottom of Folly River 7 years after dredging

Boats hitting bottom of Folly River 7 years after dredging

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Boaters have a beautiful view of the folly river, but underneath they say there's a growing problem.

Allen Stanion, a boater at Sunset Cay Marina said, "Currently the channel back here by these buoys that you could see off in the distance is getting shallower and shallower."

Stanion said the sand is tossed around after a storm and it becomes unsafe to navigate through the channel. Boaters often get stuck during low tide.

"Now it's to the point where you could virtually stand up out there next to the navigation buoy in water this deep. You can run aground in a very, very small boat, so it has become dangerous," said Stanion.

Stanion's 35 footer ran aground just a few weeks ago. His wallet took an 8 thousand dollar hit to pay for damages. Chris Kleinhans, dock master at Sunset Cay Marina has seen many boats get stuck.

Kleinhans said, "This sand bar has been here for half a dozen years but its been getting bigger and bigger every year."

He said safety is his top concern, especially if there's a fire.

"If a boat caught on fire and that was how it was going to be put out, with a fire boat, people would be out of luck," said Kleinhans.

Down near Folly Creek where Crosby's Fish and Shrimp has been in the seafood business for 40 years, owners are having to change the way they bring in the day's catch.

Joan Cooksey, co-owner said, "We've had to sell a boat and buy a boat that draws less water just to take the stress off a little bit."

Cooksey said dredging is the only option.

"It's hard enough to keep fresh product and keep our business open and people enjoy the local seafood, but when you can't even get out to get it, it's just frustrating," said Cooksey.

The Army Corps of Engineers provides maintenance and upkeep to the Folly River. Right now federal funding isn't available to dredge the river. 2006 was the last time it was possible and at that time, it cost nearly a million dollars.

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