- Associated Press - Sunday, May 18, 2014

SANDY ISLAND, S.C. (AP) - A four-year effort to get a ferry to a remote Georgetown County island accessible only by boat is likely over unless the idea gets local support, a Grand Strand transportation authority said.

Coastal RTA officials met with Sandy Island residents Saturday. The island has 100 residents and some of them have called for a publicly run ferry since 2009 when three people on a private boat drowned when their vessel capsized during a storm.

The authority said it needs $60,000 to match a grant to get the ferry service running. The grant would allow the authority to make sure a 26-passenger pontoon boat used for the ferry meets standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act, an authority spokesman told The Sun News of Myrtle Beach (http://bit.ly/QWKlRf ).

Coastal RTA says it will ask the Georgetown County Council for the money.

About a third of the island’s residents don’t have their own boat. Many rely on Charles Pyatt’s 16-seat pontoon boat. The U.S. Army and Postal Service retiree said he doesn’t charge his elderly neighbors because he knows many of them don’t have a lot of money.

One of them is 71-year-old Sarah Deas, who said she is holding out hope the county will match that grant.

“Getting in and out of those small boats is kind of getting to me,” Deas said. “A ferry would be good for me and my momma who is almost 100 years old. My brother is handicapped and he has a time getting in that boat. It would be very convenient for all of us.”

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Information from: The Sun News, http://www.thesunnews.com/