JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – With the help of volunteers, the Wounded Nature-Working Veterans non-profit works to clear abandoned vessels from waterways in the Lowcountry with the group successfully removing a few boats from Clark Sound on Saturday.
On James Island’s Clark Sound, two wrecked boats were removed from marsh waters.
Whit Jones, Director of Operations of Wounded Nature-Working Veterans, coordinated the removals by dismantling a skiff and runabout motorboats.
“So today we pulled two small boats; there was an old skiff and old runabout that had been in the water here in the marsh behind Clark Sound [on] James Island for at least twenty years,” Jones says. “The homeowner reached out over the summer to SCDHEC who pulled us in to come and take a look and formulate a plan to get these boats out.”
The boats were removed at no cost to the homeowner after first noticing the shipwrecks years ago. The boats were collecting garbage washed ashore and polluting the waters with toxic materials contained in the wrecks.
“Almost all the boats we deal with are made of fiberglass, treated lumbered, treated wood, the foam that floats the boat; all that stuff breaks down,” Jones says. “All of that plastic, microplastic ends up in the environment, ends up in the shellfish and so it’s a hazard to the environment; some boats have bathroom systems aboard, lead in the battery, all of that stuff is toxic for the environment.”
Prior to Saturday, Wounded Nature-Working Veterans has cleared 112 wrecked vessels from Lowcountry waterways.
“Today marks 114 boats in three years, we’ve been steady at it for three years getting boats out and 2021 has been a very big year for us, we do this year-round, COVID didn’t slow us down,” says Jones.
In addition to boat removals, the non-profit also coordinates marsh cleanups with the next major clean-up planned for March 2022.
“We operate up and down the East coast; predominantly we clean and rehabilitate critical coastal areas that others can’t access,” Jones says. “We go after treated lumber, we go after tires, we go after marine debris”
Jones also mentions that Wounded Nature-Working Veterans has corporate support from groups including Boeing, Bosch, and Simply Southern.
“The biggest thing we need is support; we can use financial support [and] we’re actually on the hunt for a used 4×4 truck to expand our operations. We’ve got lots of great helpers both here and when we go out of town.”
To learn more or see past accomplishments, visit woundednature.org.