News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Launches New Vessel Turn-In Program to Help Relieve SC Coast of Abandoned Boats

March 1, 2024

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Abandoned and derelict boats are a chronic problem along South Carolina’s coast, negatively impacting marshes and coastal waters and creating hazards. Derelict boats are often old, neglected and in very poor condition. A new program is being piloted by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to prevent derelict boats from entering coastal waterways where they may become environmental or safety hazards.

DHEC’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (DHEC OCRM) is piloting a Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP) this summer for individuals and businesses in South Carolina’s eight coastal counties: Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry and Jasper. Through the VTIP, individuals and businesses located in those counties can apply to have unwanted, at-risk or end-of-life vessels disposed of before they become abandoned, at no cost.

“The Vessel Turn-In Program is an excellent opportunity for the residents of South Carolina’s coastal counties to dispose of their unwanted or aging vessels, which will help protect our valuable coastal resources,” said Marian Page, Interim Bureau Chief of DHEC OCRM. “Abandoned boats threaten sensitive habitat, impact the safe recreational use of our waterways and detract from our state’s beautiful coastal landscape.”

After applying, individuals will be notified if they’ve been accepted for the program and will be provided details for transporting their vessel to a drop-off site or having their vessel picked up by DHEC OCRM contractors. The vessels will be dismantled and separated into different material types, and where possible, the materials will be disposed of sustainably. As part of this project, DHEC OCRM is also piloting an innovative fiberglass vessel hull recycling program, where the shredded fiberglass from VTIP vessels will be used as an alternative fuel at a local cement kiln.

“Not only does the VTIP program have the potential to keep vessels out of our marsh and coastal waters, but it also strives for sustainable disposal options as an alternative to landfilling the vessels,” Page said. “These two pilot programs aim to protect natural resources and divert waste from landfills in our coastal communities.”

The pilot programs are being funded through a Coastal Zone Enhancement grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Those interested in the VTIP pilot project should apply online at and will need key pieces of information to complete the application, including the boat title, U.S. Coast Guard documentation or S.C. Department of Natural Resources registration number; vessel hull identification number; vessel material; approximate dimensions and weight of the vessel; and four photos of the vessel (front, back, and both sides).

The first vessel drop-off day will take place in the Charleston County area in June 2024. Interested applicants from any of the state’s eight coastal counties are encouraged to apply online by April 5, 2024, to be considered for the pilot VTIP.

Anyone with questions about the VTIP project can learn more at or email



Media Relations