Rotting away on South Carolina’s Folly Beach, the so-called “Folly Boat,” has gone from forgotten wreck, to beloved local landmark.
Forced inland and ashore by Hurricane Hugo, the boat does not seem to belong to anyone. After it was discovered, efforts were made to find out who the vessel belonged to, but no one stepped forward and the boat simply remained at the spot. It wasn’t long before vandals began using the blank white hull as a canvas. Soon, painting the Folly Beach boat had become somewhat of a local pastime with regular passersby marking up the boat multiple times a day with names, images, and all manner of scrawl.
Today, over 20 years later, the boat still sits on the beach and locals still can’t help but continue to paint it. The wreck has become the unofficial symbol for Folly Beach and some artists even decorate it with huge, intricate murals that cover the entire body. Everything from messages from high school seniors to wedding proposals to show promotion have been scrawled on the side of The Folly Boat. The graffiti is known of by the city but they don’t seem to have a problem with the beloved rebellion. The boat continues to have a change of outer layer of paint because the locals paint over the old designs many times a year to celebrate different occasions. Occasionally it has been painted over multiple times in a day, such as in the confederate “hubbub” of 2017.
In 2017, Hurricane Irma carried the iconic boat back out to sea, but several locals managed to wrangle it back to the shore. However, it still does not have a final “resting place” and may or may not reappear, unfortunately.
Update as of December 219: The Folly Boat was moved to The Barrel, a bar on Folly Road. It will form a portion of the bar’s fence.