Unlike Florida, states like South Carolina must rely on federal funds

Sunset at Hilton Head Island Overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway
Sunset at Hilton Head Island Overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway

Taken at sunset from the Lighthouse Marina at Sea Pines Plantation, one of the largest plantations on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with several yachts docked awaiting the arrival of more marine vessels for Memorial Day festivities.

Beyond the marina, Calibogue Sound is one link in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and the second largest sound on the Atlantic seaboard. Because no state on the Atlantic seaboard except the State of Florida funds a governmental entity to maintain the Waterway through its state, states like South Carolina must rely on federal funds and the Army Corps of Engineers for dredging and other operational maintenance.

For at least two decades, there has been a shortage in federal funds to maintain the Waterway. Fortunately, the State of Florida has the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) to pick up the slack.  The rest of the states experience low water and damaged boats from a lack of  dredging, particularly in stretches in and around Hilton Head.

Overlooking Calibogue Sound (ICW) From Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Waterway at sunset
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

For some time, there has been much debate over where the northern terminus of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) might be located. When I appeared as the “waterway expert” on the Modern Marvels documentary “Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway” shown on the History Channel, the writer/producer contended as many still do, that the AIW begins in Miami and ends in Boston. But as many point out, and I agree,the barrier islands along the Atlantic coast end in Virginia. And for the most part, there is open water north of Virginia,with some exceptions like the Cape Cod Canal.

In the early 1900’s, a new renaissance arose over federal support of inland waterways with the election of progressives like Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency and Napoleon Bonaparte Broward to the Florida gubernatorial post. More than thirty citizen’s groups lobbied Congress for inland waterway support. Among the most influential was the Atlantic Deeper Waterways Association (ADWA) led by Congressman Joseph Hampton Moore of Philadelphia. The ADWA had over 500 members, representing the coastal states from Maine to Florida when it first met in Philadelphia in 1907. The ADWA would spend the next three decades lobbying Congress for a continuous Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, which would officially open in 1935 from Miami, Florida to Trenton, New Jersey.  Courtesy, the author.