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Folly Boat Could Disappear




Several South Carolina elected officials are reportedly contemplating whether to do away with a Lowcountry landmark that has attracted hundreds of local artists – and hundreds of thousands of eyeballs – over the past three decades.

We’re referring to the “Folly Boat,” an abandoned vessel left high and dry nearly twenty-eight years ago during the worst hurricane to ever strike the Palmetto State.

The boat came to rest amidst the oleander bushes off of Folly Road during Hurricane Hugo back in September of 1989.  Never claimed in the aftermath of the storm, it now resides along a highly visible stretch of highway bordering a salt marsh.

No one knows who owned the boat, nor does it appear to be settled who owns the property upon which it sits.

Anyway, over the years passersby have painted messages and murals on the hull of the boat – most of them memorials, wedding announcements or advertisements for local festivals.  Over that time, the Folly Boat has undergone multiple clean-up jobs as layers of paint occasionally became so thick that they were literally sagging off the sides of the vessel.

There are no rules for painting the boat … anyone can do it.

“As the unofficial ambassador to Folly Beach it reminds each of its passersby of the funky, feel good vibes of the Folly Beach community,” the boat’s official website noted.

Not lately, though …

This year, the Folly Boat has become a primary target of the S.C. Secessionist Party.  Under the leadership of its chairman, James Bessenger, the party has been conducting an ongoing “flagging” campaign across the Palmetto State – and has painted the Folly Boat on multiple occasions.

It’s goal?  According to Bessenger, the group wants to draw attention to the ongoing failure of the S.C. General Assembly to properly display the Confederate flag that was removed from the grounds of the State House two years ago.

Lawmakers pledged to display the flag in a museum after yanking it down, but so far they have failed to do so.

In addition to its “flagging” efforts, the Secessionist Party has also led several successful efforts (here and here) to enforce the state’s “Heritage Act.”  This law forbids the removal of any Confederate (or civil rights) “monument, marker, memorial, school, or street” without a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the S.C. General Assembly.

Bessenger told us he’s pleased his group’s advocacy is getting a response.

“We love that it pisses them off so much,” he told us.  “Especially because they’re saying it could cause the boat to be taken away.”

For those of you new to this website, we were the first media outlet in South Carolina to call for the removal of the flag from the grounds of the State House in the aftermath of a racially motivated mass murder in Charleston, S.C.  Unlike then-governor Nikki Haley, we didn’t have to wait for our crony capitalist masters to tell us the right thing to do.

Having said that, we believe the manner in which the flag was brought down was profoundly disrespectful to those who supported it (and still support it).  We were especially galled by the rank opportunism and hypocrisy of Haley, who for years supported the flag and rebuffed efforts to remove it.



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Banner via S.C. Secessionist Party