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Shrimp boat sinks in Battery Creek

By Tony Kukulich

A shrimp boat sank sometime Thursday night or early Friday morning in Battery Creek near Port Royal.

The boat was one of two shrimp boats moored to the town’s dock that were recently purchased and then moved from the dock into Battery Creek, said Port Royal Town Manager Van Willis. The new owner planned to refurbish the boats.

“He’s already relocated one boat,” Willis added. “He was coming back for this one, but hadn’t yet. He’s been checking on it. He had the pumps on car batteries, but I don’t know what happened. Obviously, the boat went down.”

In advance of what’s expected to be a busy weekend on the water, the Beaufort Water Search and Rescue (BWSAR) team marked the wreck with a buoy to warn boaters of the hazard. At low tide, the boat is visible as it sits in water that is six to eight feet deep, said Clay Emminger with the BWSAR. At high tide, however, the hull is completely submerged.

“It’s a busy weekend for boaters,” Willis said. “At high tide the boat is under water. When the tide is fully up, you won’t be able to see the boat. That’s why it’s important it’s marked, so somebody coming through won’t hit it.”

BWSAR reported the coordinates of the sunken boat as 32° 22’ 57.5” north, 080° 41’ 96.5” west.

According to Willis, the new owner intends to raise the boat and continue with his plans to refurbish the boat.

Port Royal officials are engaged in an effort to rebuild the town’s dock, the latest in a series of actions taken by the town to support the continuation of shrimping in the Lowcountry. Demolition and construction can’t get under way until all of the boats tied to the dock have relocated. An April 15 deadline to clear all boats from the dock came and went with boats remaining. To further complicate the situation, a sailboat was recently abandoned by its owner at the dock.

The town’s efforts to clear the dock and start construction are ongoing.

Tony Kukulich is a recent transplant to the Lowcountry. A native of Wilmington, Del., he comes to The Island News from the San Francisco Bay Area where he spent seven years as a reporter and photographer for several publications. He can be reached at tony.theislandnews@gmail.com.

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