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Charleston Mysteries: The Folly Boat



From: Charleston Mag

From: Charleston Mag

In this edition of “Charleston Mysteries” we take a look at The Folly Boat.

Yes, I know that pretty much anyone who has stepped foot in the Holy City knows about this relic. And yes, I know many people already know the boat’s back story too. Admittedly, this is not much of a “mystery,” but there are plenty of people who will be discovering The Folly Boat for the first time and will wonder about its origins.

The Folly Boat is a boat that sits just off of Folly Road – it’s nestled in the grass closest to the side of the street heading towards the beach. The small vessel arrived at this curious location when it was washed ashore by Hurricane Hugo in September of 1989. No one ever claimed the boat, so there it sat.

According to, the boat remained undisturbed for about a year. Around that time someone decided to paint a message across the side of the boat and a tradition was born.

Countless people have painted all manner of things on The Folly Boat – proposals, Happy Birthdays, inspirational quotes, moments in Charleston and US history, breath-taking pieces, and more.

Suffice it to say there is A LOT of paint on the boat – layers and layers of it. In fact, there were so many layers that large, rubber-like chucks were starting to sag off the side of it. Just eight or so years after the last clean-up, city employees had to do it again in 2012.

Seeing The Folly Boat as you venture out to the Edge of America has become its own tradition, but to really become part of the legacy you have to grab some paint and brushes.

If you would like to paint The Folly Boat, I highly recommend reading the Charleston City Paper’s helpful How-To Guide (here) first.

You can view pictures from 1993 until present day here.

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