Abandoned boat ordinance passes first reading

Horry County, SC - HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - An ordinance helping to combat the growing problem of abandoned boats along the Intracoastal Waterway has passed its first reading in Horry County.

Members of the Horry County Council voted nearly unanimously to pass the first reading of the ordinance during a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday evening. Only one member voted against it.

According to officials, the new ordinance would make the county eligible for state and federal grants, which could help pay for the removal of the abandoned vessels.

"Right now, we don't have an ordinance in place that allows us to do anything with the boats at all," Councilman Brent Schulz explained. "We're trying to match what they did in Georgetown, Charleston and Folly Beach."

Officials said the ordinance would also carry stiff penalties for those found guilty of abandoning their boats. Boat owners would face a misdemeanor charge, with fines ranging between $1,000 and $5,000.Violators could also face up to 30 days of imprisonment and be held financially responsible for removing the vessel.

The ordinance will now face a second reading, and if passed, will go on to a third and final reading by the Horry County Council.

Final approval of the ordinance will be proposed to the Horry County Public Safety for final approval.

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