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Abandoned boats are a sign of the times

In Charleston, S.C., as elsewhere, abandoned vessels might be an unofficial indicator of the tough economy.

While no exact national figures exist, authorities in most states with a coast or large body of water have reported increasing numbers of boat owners abandoning their vessels in recent years.

"Certainly the economic downturn did seem to increase the number of boats that were being reported as derelict," said Dan Burger, director of communication for the Ocean and Coastal Resource Management division of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

There are a host of reasons why people abandon boats, including those who can't keep up on the loan payments, maintenance or the high cost of fuel.

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