Hurricane Hugo washed derelict boat ashore 28 years ago. Irma wanted it back.

Twitter fretted over the fate of the Folly Boat Monday
Twitter fretted over the fate of the Folly Boat Monday

Hurricane Irma threatened countless disasters as it moved north this week, but one Carolina coastal community is making national news for fretting for the safety of a boat that hadn’t been seaworthy in 30 years.

The Folly Boat, as it’s called, has been a coastal S.C. icon since it washed ashore during Hurricane Hugo in September 1989. People have painted and repainted messages on it, from marriage proposals to birthday wishes.

“Of all the boats Hurricane Hugo ripped from their moorings almost three decades ago, none inspired passion like the one on the Folly Beach causeway did,” wrote the Charleston Post and Courier. “In time, the long-abandoned boat would become an icon of the beach town.”

Hurricane Irma tried its best to take the boat back from Folly Beach. The powerful storm cared not about the last message painted on it: “Godspeed Florida. This too shall pass.”

For a time on Monday, it appeared the storm had succeeded, washing away the boat that Folly Beach had come to love.

But then, it mysteriously resurfaced.

It’s an odd story that unfolded this week on Twitter.

“The Folly Boat, an island icon on the road to the beach, is nowhere to be seen,” tweeted Prentiss Findlay of The (Charleston) Post and Courier.

“The Folly Boat is floating away, Beaufort is flooding, Charleston is flooding, Edisto is flooding ... prayers for my favorite Low Country,” tweeted a woman named BamBam, who raises cows, goats and kids, and is a self-described lover of “Jesus, cotton, bourbon & moose.”

Read the headline on CNN.com: “A monster hurricane brought Folly Beach its most famous boat. Now another monster storm has washed it away.”

“RIP to the Folly Boat ... praying for your resurrection,” tweeted Syllabus Magazine.com, a Carolina-based music and culture magazine.

But just as the tides turn, so did the fortunes of Folly Boat.

The boat floated about a half mile away before crashing into a dock owned by Chris John.

“All (of) the sudden, it was just floating by,” John told CNN. “My buddy was looking out the window and was like, ‘Whoa, what is that?”

Now it rests easy in his yard, happy once again to be the talk of the town.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak