GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Every day, rain or shine, the kids of Sandy Island board an old ferry and make the several minute trek to school. In more than 50 years the route hasn't changed, and neither has the boat.
"You know, after 40 years, just like our bodies we tend to wear down," described Leonard Nelson, who rode the ferry when he was a child.
With no other options though, the boat keeps running. People who live on Sandy Island say it's better than nothing, but nothing isn't quite the standard they or the department of education want to meet.
"When I heard that this was an issue I really couldn't sleep until I found out for sure that this boat is safe," said state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.
Friday, Spearman made the trek to Georgetown county to try to find a solution.
She laid out two options: the department of education could buy a new boat, or it could team up with Georgetown County and lease one.
Both options have the same end game, but partnering up could allow the boat to make more trips. Still, that comes with its own problems.
"Well we can look on the wharf right there that they brought the boat on and you can tell it's not handicap accessible,' said Nelson.
Spearman says having a safe, dependable ride for the kids is priority number one, but a new boat will be able to accommodate anyone.
At this point she says the goal is find the smartest option and best long-term decision.
"Coming and getting a firsthand look at the situation, I'm impressed," said Nelson.
Spearman says she is ready to make a decision but wants to make sure that decision is what's best for the long term.?