051216 News for Pawleys Island, Litchfield and Murrells Inlet
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Murrells Inlet: July Fourth boat parade will sail two days early

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

The nation’s birthday will be celebrated early in Murrells Inlet this year.

The start of the 33rd annual boat parade is being moved to 5 p.m. July 2 because of the tide schedule, according to co-chairman Lee Hewitt.

“For the first time in 33 years the parade will be on a day other than the fourth,” said Hewitt. “To traditionally keep it on the fourth we would need to start at 7 a.m. — to align with high tide. Therefore, for the safety of the boaters, moving the parade to July 2 was the best option.”

The parade will begin at Garden City Point and stream past the prime viewing areas of The Marsh Walk, Belin Memorial United Methodist Church and Morse Park Landing. More than a decade of silting since the last dredging of the inlet requires a high tide for center-console boats to travel near the shore. The tide on Saturday evening will be 6.2 feet. “That will be plenty of water right when the parade is finishing,” Hewitt said, “and give everybody a good 30 to 45 minutes before the tide starts dropping to get through the narrow channels.”

Hewitt said small boats could have navigated Parsonage Creek a decade ago at low tide, but it’s bone dry today.

Keeping the boat parade on July 4 would have required starting at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m. with high tide scheduled near 9 o’clock. “My concern,” Hewitt said, “was somebody getting stuck on the inlet for the tide change and having the Coast Guard and people like that out there at night. It’s not safe.”

Hewitt said the traditional Murrells Inlet fireworks show will remain on July 4 at 10 p.m.

Entry forms for boats may be obtained through July 1 at Garden City Realty, Booty’s Outdoors and Marlin Quay Marina or one hour before the start of the parade at the committee boat. The fee is $5 per boat. Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated boats. T-shirts will be available for purchase starting one month prior to the parade date with proceeds benefitting the Belin United Methodist Church Boy Scout Troop 396.

For more information contact Hewitt 843-241-5222 or the parade committee via Facebook at Murrells Inlet Boat Parade.

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