Charleston environmental nonprofit working to remove sunken ship

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 5:11 AM EDT|Updated: May. 5, 2022 at 7:32 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A group of young professionals in a Charleston-based leadership program is working with a local nonprofit that’s doing its part to protect marine life in the Charleston harbor.

The team has partnered with Wounded Nature Working Veterans to help them reach their financial goal to retrieve a sunken vessel in the Charleston harbor. They say the sunken vessel is causing damage to the area.

The environmental nonprofit focuses on coastal cleanups and rehabilitation in critical areas that most people can’t access.

Whit Jones, director of Wounded Nature, says sunken or abandoned boats leave debris that’s toxic for the environment impacting wildlife and even navigation.

Shrimp and fish live in the tidal marshes and Jones says toxins in the form of microplastics for example are often ingested by shellfish. Removing the debris will create a healthier environment.

The current project is to remove a two-year-old sunken boat that Wounded Nature and their partnering group has named “Rusty.” Once they retrieve the boat, they will unveil its true name.

The Rusty is out near the James Island connector, very close to where other boats sail in and out which is dangerous for boats navigating the waters in that area.

Jones says they have the plan but now they need funding. He and his team are looking to raise $15,000 to raise The Rusty.

“We continue to face resource challenges and the more problematic boats, the bigger boats, the longer they’re sunk, they cost more,” Jones said.

The non-profit says they are asking the state to help with a longer-term approach to abandoned vessels in South Carolina. For now, they are doing this on their own and calling on the community for help.

Quinn Gaines, with the leadership program, says by raising funds and getting it out of the water they’re giving back to the local fisherman, marshlands, and the waterways.

The nonprofit is looking for additional funding to clear the backlog of sunken and abandoned boats in the area. Jones says once they get these boats out of the water the cost to continue their projects should lessen.

For more information on raising The Rusty click here and contact Whit Jones.

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