LITTLE RIVER, S.C. (WBTW) — The number of abandoned boats is on the rise in Horry County.

It’s not only a pain to the community, but also a danger, according to Patrick Kelly, the owner of Captain Smiley’s Fishing Charter.

“I see the problem growing, the most recent one was a couple weeks ago,” he said.

In 2010, Horry County Councilman Brent Schulz helped provide funding to remove abandoned boats, but according to Kelly, the issue is on the rise again.

He’s seen two new boats in the last six months, and several that have shown up within the last couple of years on the Intracoastal Waterway.

With dockage and fuel prices now increasing, Kelly said people end up in over their heads.

“Instead of paying dockage or getting the boat hauled out, they just run them off in the marsh and walk away from them,” he said.

Back in 2016, the Department of Health and Environmental Control put together the Abandoned and Derelict Vessel (ADV) program to work on reducing the number of issues. However, Kelly said there’s still a lack of responsibility.

“People wanna have the experience of having a boat,” he said. “They don’t realize the cost of having a boat.”

And with abandoned boats being sunk under water, Kelly said it puts the public’s safety at risk as well.

“It’s dangerous. We have more people moving to our area, more people on boats, navigating boats that don’t know the area, if they hit a sunken boat they don’t know about they could cause an accident,” Kelly said.

According to Kelly, the best way to solve this issue is really straightforward. He said it’s to think twice before buying a boat, and to make sure prospective owners can afford the expenses that come along with it.