Featured Artist for 2017 is Jef Sturm

A love for and mastery of landscapes and light shine through in the 2017 Georgetown Wooden Boat Show painting by this year’s artist, Jef Sturm.

Anyone who has seen the shrimp boats in the Tom Hanks movie “Forrest Gump” will recognize the historic era from which this year’s featured boat was launched. The Prodigal Son, a familiar sight in Georgetown Harbor and Winyah Bay with Captain Ronnie Campbell at the helm, is typical of wooden shrimp boats from about 50 years ago except for one major deviation: Its rigging was removed.

“The Prodigal Son was built in ’48, and it was a small shrimper,” Sturm said. “It did what it did. Ronnie’s gotten ahold of it and he’s taken all the rigging and stuff off of it, and he’s more or less refurbished it. It’s a beautiful boat.”

Sturm depicted the white wooden boat on a sunny and placid part of Winyah Bay where dashes of color in the paint and wood are reflected from a fair weather sky. The artist used setting and light to evoke a sensible and humbly elegant personality for the vessel.


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2016 Winners

You can view our 2016 award winners here as we enter them into Google docs. We will be updating this document throughout the day.

2016 Award Winners

The Show will go on!

Electricity, internet, phone service, and cable TV have been restored to us in downtown Georgetown.

This boat show is happening! Please go to our facebook page for photos and updates:


Exhibitors go here for set-up instructions:

See you on Front Street this weekend!


Wooden Boat Show to host Cardboard Boat Regatta

It may be the Wooden Boat Show, but, as the old saying goes, “whatever floats your boat.”

For the 26th annual show, set for Oct. 15 and 16, a new signature event will be the Cardboard Boat Regatta. It will be part of the “Sunday At The Show” event on Oct. 16.

Families, businesses, schools, youth groups, friends, and nonprofits are invited to design and build a boat made entirely of corrugated box material. The sky’s the limit. Use your imagination (or the Internet) to create a vessel that can range from a simple sailing craft to a stunning ship or a rubber ducky.

The Pride of the Fleet will be awarded to the vessel with the most innovative engineering and artistic design; Team Spirit to the group with the most out- standing theme, team participation and crowd support; and the Titanic ribbon to the vessel and team with the most dramatic sinking.

Don’t miss this opportunity to challenge your friends and coworkers.

The boats need to be at the show by Sunday morning (Oct. 16) at 10 a.m. for display in the challenge tent.

After this preview by the public, the boats will be launched into the Sampit River at 1:30 p.m. One to two sailors will navigate by paddling the vessel to a designated buoy and back to qualify for the awards.

For more information or to register, go https://woodenboatshow.com/cardboard-boat-regatta/ or contact Susan Davis at 843-325-1800 or sndavis05@gmail.com.

Corrugated box material will also be available by donation from International Paper. If you are interested in using this material, contact Davis to arrange a pick-up time.

2016 GWBS Featured Artist Judy Maring

Last Trip of the Day

(This is an excerpt from the original article. Click Here for Full Article)

Judy Maring says she was honored and humbled when asked to be the 2016 Wooden Boat Show poster artist, and she visited the Maritime Museum for subject inspiration. Information about steamboats caught her eye, because she didn’t know the Georgetown area had steamboats.

She settled on the Governor Safford, which was a sidewheeler built in 1884 in Camden, New Jersey. Its paddle wheel was on the side to make it easier to turn around in narrow rivers.

“Last Trip of the Day” shows the Governor Safford chugging briskly along the Waccamaw River late in the afternoon, on its last trip of the day, headed to Hagley Landing. Passengers are on two deck levels enjoying the breeze, and smoke billows thickly from a central stack.

2016 Wooden Boat Show posters will be available for purchase at the museum for $20 starting on August 18, 2016  when the original painting will be unveiled. The painting will be auctioned off on Friday, October 14, 2016  at the Goat Island Yacht Club Regatta.

It's the 27th Annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show!

27th Annual Wooden Boat Show, Georgetown, SC
October 15 and 16, 2016
Contact: Sally Swineford 843-340-3879
Email: boats@dev.woodenboatshow.com

Georgetown Wooden Boat Show October 15 and 16

The Harbor Historical Association of Georgetown will present the 27th Annual Wooden Boat Show on Saturday and Sunday, October 15 and 16, 2016. This year's show, which has no admission fee, will feature one of the nation's best wooden boat exhibits, a wooden boatbuilding competition, children's model boatbuilding, knot tying, maritime art & crafts, food, and music. New for this year is a Cardboard Boat Regatta to be held on Sunday afternoon.

All events will take place on the waterfront and along Front Street in Historic downtown Georgetown. Money raised through sales and donations will benefit the South Carolina Maritime Museum, also located on Front Street in Georgetown.

The Southeast Tourism Society has selected the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show as a Top 20 Event in the Southeast for October.

Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
More than 140 classic wooden boats will be displayed in the water and along Front Street. Vessels ranging in sizes from kayaks to cruising yachts will be exhibited in categories including: row, canoe, kayak, surfboard, sail, inboard power, outboard power, owner designed and built, century class (100 years or older), model boats and “classic” categories for boats that are aged 50 years or older. Visitors will be able to meet and talk to wooden boat craftsmen, manufacturers, and owners. Maritime art & crafts will also be on display.

The Wooden Boat Challenge will begin at noon under the big tent on Broad Street. Two-person teams will race to build a rowing skiff within a four-hour time limit. At 5 p.m. the competitors will test their completed skiffs for seaworthiness in a rowing relay across the Sampit River. The teams will be scored on speed of construction, quality of work and rowing speed. Cash prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place winners.

At 7 p.m. an awards ceremony and banquet will be held for boat exhibitors, boatbuilding competitors, sponsors and guests. Prizes will be presented to the winners in each of the exhibit categories as well as the People's Choice Grand Award winner, to the Six Knot Challenge winner, and to the winning Wooden Boat Challenge competitors.

Sunday, October 16, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
In addition to the wooden boat and commercial exhibits, family activities will include an Opti Pram regatta featuring the SC Youth Sailing program’s fleet of wooden Optis, knot tying with Dan the Knot Man and kid’s model boat building. 

A new event for Sunday will be the First Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta. Visitors can preview the cardboard boats from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. under the big tent on Broad Street. The Regatta will begin at 1:30 p.m. when the cardboard boats are launched on the Sampit River from the floating docks at Francis Marion Park.  The Pride of the Fleet Award will be given to the boat that best combines innovative engineering with artistic design, while the Team Pride Award will go to the team with the greatest spirit and crowd involvement. The Titanic Award will be presented to the boat with the most dramatic sinking.

The Georgetown Wooden Boat Show is produced by the Harbor Historical Association, a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization. For more information, to register a boat for exhibit or to sponsor this event contact Georgetown Wooden Boat Show, PO Box 2228, Georgetown, SC, 29442; or send an email to boats@dev.woodenboatshow.com. Visit the website at www.dev.woodenboatshow.com.

Southeast Tourism Society Selects Georgetown Wooden Boat Show as Top 20 Event

Southeast Tourism Society Selects the 27th Annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show as a ‘STS Top 20 Event’
Travel industry organization has saluted region’s best events since 1985

ATLANTA, Ga. (June 9, 2016) – The Southeast Tourism Society has named the 27th Annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show a STS Top 20 Event in the Southeast for October 2016.

This year’s Georgetown Wooden Boat Show will be held on October 15 and 16, 2016. The STS Top 20 Festival and Event Awards have highlighted programs around the Southeast since 1985.

Travel industry experts select 20 events per month, and STS publicizes them throughout the United States. The complete list is published on two websites: EscapeToTheSoutheast.com and Travel Media Press Room.

The Georgetown Wooden Boat Show features one of the Southeast’s best wooden boat exhibits with more than 140 classic wooden boats displayed on land and water, a wooden boatbuilding competition, children’s model boatbuilding, knot tying, maritime art and crafts, food, and music. A new event for this year will be a Cardboard Boat Regatta. 

“The Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Festival and Event list is an excellent guide for the Southeast’s visitors and residents. Events selected represent the best, and often most unique, activities in our region,” said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society.

Events considered for the STS Top 20 recognition must be at least three years old and have attendance of at least 1,000. Nomination forms and deadlines are available at SoutheastTourism.org or by calling 770-542-1523.

STS, founded in 1983 and headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting tourism to and within 12 states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Contact: Georgetown Wooden Boat Show
Name: Sally Swineford
Email: boats@dev.woodenboatshow.com
Phone: 843-340-3879

Winners Announced


Click on the Google Docs link above.

Remembering Len Anderson

This year's Georgetown Wooden Boat Show is dedicated to our irreplaceable friend, Len Anderson. But while his place as No. 1 brainstormer and dream achiever is forever secure, we will honor his memory by following the examples he set for us.

We’re going to roll the tape now, the invisible tape that Len Anderson advised others about.

“Everything you do goes onto an invisible tape,” he’d say, “and you can never erase anything on that tape. You have no control over when that tape is going to be played back. Good or bad.”

Len could possibly (probably) be sipping a glass of Scotch as he offered his insight, but it wasn’t the kind of dime store wisdom found in the bottom of a cheap bottle of booze. It was his version of the Golden Rule, and he embodied it, and many others benefitted.

Some folks were lucky enough to know Len and appreciate his wit, while others in the Georgetown area know his legacy through the South Carolina Maritime Museum, although they may not know his name. The museum and the Wooden Boat Show exist in large part due to his patient behind-the-scenes work and vision.

Len grew up in Illinois, where he learned to sail on chilly waters. He was an athletic guy – his high school football team was undefeated for three years, and he was the quarterback. His athleticism gave him a choice: pitch for the Chicago Cubs, or take a football scholarship to Yale. He chose the latter, where he was again a quarterback.

But in his third year of college Len was having way too much fun, so his grades were not really where they should have been. He needed a change.

Len joined the U.S. Marine Corp., and he went to Korea. The four years he was on active duty during the Korean Conflict were the most defining in his life, he always said. Maybe it was the discipline or the fighting or the change of scenery, but when he came back to the U.S. with the rank of Captain, Len was on track. He married Marilyn Goodman, returned to Yale and finished his undergraduate degree. He performed so well that his professors were shocked at the transformation. They actually did studies on him, trying to figure out what happened to make him turn around so dramatically, and then Len went on to Harvard and earned an MBA. He and Marilyn had three sons, and they remained good friends after choosing different paths.

Len did something that is extremely rare these days: He spent his entire career working for only one company. He was an executive at Carolina By-Products in Greensboro, N.C., and he was there until he retired 30 years later.

Len met Susan Sanders in the early 1970s, and they became fast friends before deciding to sail through life together. The North Carolina coast was home to their favorite port, Oriental. That’s where Len retired and started Banjo Charters with his CSY44 sailboat named Banjo, and he and Susan launched an embroidery shop called Harbor Specialties.

“Hi ho, hi ho,” Len would sing as he strummed his banjo. “We sail and then we sew. We roll and pitch, and then we stitch. Hi ho, hi ho.” Len even taught Susan how to play the guitar so she could back up his banjo picking. Bluegrass is mostly what he played on that banjo, and it was one more area where he was accomplished. Len and Susan enjoyed sailing with friends, many of them musicians, on their succession of sailboats. Everyone aboard enjoyed harmony.

This period in Oriental is also when Len launched Harbor Talk, a newsletter sent to Harbor Specialties customers “now and then.” He always enjoyed writing and was so dedicated to doing it well that he had grammar and writing books by Strunk & White and William Zinsser on his night table that he studied for more than 40 years. Len’s articles in Harbor Talk always had interesting perspectives about boating and seashore life.

In 1993 Len and Susan drove through Georgetown for the first time and loved the waterfront. They loved it so much they packed everything up, moved to Georgetown and opened another embroidery shop.

He and Susan immersed themselves in the community, and they volunteered. One of the things they did was to leave the docks every day at 4 p.m. in their shrimp trawler Katy Hill (named for a bluegrass song) and cruise the harbor to greet transient boaters traveling north and south on the Intracoastal Waterway. They handed out packets including a map Len drew that featured all the important spots, like the post office and the liquor store. One year they logged in 2,100 boats.

In those days Georgetown had the Wooden Boat Exhibition, a precursor to today’s Wooden Boat Show when about eight boats were displayed at Georgetown Landing as part of the town’s Bay Fest. In 1993 the parks and recreation director asked Len to take charge of the exhibition, and Len speculated it was his Sperry Topsiders that got him the job. He asked Sid Hood to help him out, and since they both had businesses on Front Street they insisted on relocating the boats there.

Every year Len gently encouraged his cohorts to go a little farther and improve the boat show, which moved along the end goal of funding a maritime museum.

Most everyone knew Georgetown was the perfect place to establish the South Carolina Maritime Museum, and that doing so would be a boon for businesses in the waterfront area. Len was a brilliant idea guy who could clearly see what was important. He was the one who waded through the intensive and tedious paperwork of getting 501c3 tax-exempt status for the museum’s Harbor Historical Association, because he knew nothing else could advance until that was in place. The group’s mission was to preserve and promote the maritime heritage of Georgetown and South Carolina, and to eventually open the SC Maritime Museum.

As Len and Susan traveled to boating events along the coast, they spread the word that Georgetown, S.C., had a great wooden boat show. Len and Sid knew the exhibitors were what made the event, and they made it a point to treat them like honored guests. They added an exhibitors’ awards banquet, when they handed out handsome oval brass plaques as awards that could be affixed to the boats. There were a lot of awards. There were awards for the best boat in each exhibit category and there were special awards that became obvious as boat show day progressed, like an award for the oldest boat or the farthest distance traveled – the more awards the better!  Today, 26 years after the first Georgetown Wooden Boat Show, the number of exhibitors is approaching 200.

Back in the early 1990s there was a big (but short-lived) maritime show in Charleston that included a wooden boat-building challenge. When the show folded Len and Susan – accompanied by Sid, Sally Swineford and Susan Hibbs - didn’t lose any time acquiring the challenge for the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show, held the third weekend in October. Georgetown’s first boat-building challenge was in 1996, and it took the wooden boat show to a new level, especially with expenses like a big tent and building materials, which cost about $20,000.

Sponsors were suddenly extremely important, so Len came up with the Goat Island Yacht Club. He crafted the logo, a frolicking ram standing on its hind legs in front of a stylized “I”, which stands for Island. It proved to be a wildly fun and effective social club that Len proclaimed was “a state of mind.” The only way to be a member of this spectacle of conviviality (and get a coveted GIYC cap) is to sponsor the Wooden Boat Show. It’s hard to say who had more fun - Len and his fellow hard-working sponsor board members, or the sponsors themselves.

In 2000, Len and Susan decided to move to Charleston and open another Harbor Specialties, and they took with them Elizabeth Joyce. Susan says Elizabeth is the daughter they never had, and Elizabeth says she sorely misses going to Len for his advice. Elizabeth bought the Charleston location of Harbor Specialties from them, and she still owns it.

Len had respect for the underdog,” Elizabeth said. “He said, ‘What you see isn’t always what you get. You can’t judge people by how they appear. Live every day with no regrets, and treat everybody as nice as you can and with respect.’ Len had a process to how he did things, and in a certain order. As long as you stayed in that order, it was amazing how smooth things would go. He was methodical and genuine, and he definitely changed my life…He never got in anyone’s face about anything, and he never lost his patience.”

In 2005 Len and Susan moved to Beaufort, N.C., and they opened another Harbor Specialties after selling the Charleston store to Elizabeth. But even when they didn’t live in Georgetown, Len and Susan still helped out with organizing the boat show.

In 2011 it was time to open the SC Maritime Museum, and Len and Susan temporarily (for three years) moved back to Georgetown to help oversee that momentous occasion. This was the period when Len helped establish the museum’s youth sailing school. “We gotta get young blood,” he often said.

Len acquired the schematics for sailing school boats from friends in Oriental, and he digitized them for his well-used CNC router so he could precisely cut out boat pieces and, with the help of friends, construct a lot of little sailboats.

“We watched a little kid, skinny as a rail, walk in,” Susan said. “We both looked at each other and said, ‘Uh-oh. How is that little thing going to be able to sail one of these boats?’ He was just as timid and scared as he could be. But by the end of the week he was leading the crowd. He was the first one here, he was the first one to get his boat out and he could outperform anybody. We changed that kid’s life.”

2015 marked the third summer of sailing camps, and 130 children participated. Byproducts of the wildly successful camps were additional museum funding, but more importantly, it is cultivating a new generation of boat lovers who will someday take over museum stewardship and keep Georgetown’s seafaring history and traditions alive.

It’s just one of the many legacies Len Anderson left here. He could figure out anything and do anything, his friends say. That CNC router played a role in a lot of his great ideas, like sign making. He designed and constructed the beautiful gold leaf-trimmed museum sign that people can see from Front Street, as well as many other Front Street business signs. Len also used the router to make wooden sailboat models designed for children to put together, decorate and sail on a pool of water during the Wooden Boat Show.

In late 2014 Len and Susan moved back to the North Carolina coast, and that’s where Len passed away. He’s buried in Oriental, and U.S. Marines from Camp Lejeune came and performed a 21-gun salute along with full military honors. His grave marker says, as he requested, that he was a Marine and was Captain of the S/V Banjo.

Len’s tape isn’t invisible any more, and he got it right on the first take.

The Show Will Go On!

We are not cancelling the show.
Downtown Georgetown is not in the area that was hit the hardest by the SC floods. Some businesses on Front Street experienced flooding and water damage but they are getting their shops in order and will be ready for the boat show. Sponsorships and exhibitor registrations continue to roll in and, as of today, not one exhibitor has cancelled.

Statement from Georgetown Co. Emergency Management
Flooding Update:  October 8, 2015
There has been quite a bit of confusion and misinformation following statements made by the governor earlier today. We do not currently have any evacuations recommended for the Pawleys Island or City of Georgetown areas. If you have any questions, please call our Disaster Call Center at (843) 545-3273 or visit www.facebook.com/gtcountysc for accurate and up to date information.

Weather for the weekend of October 17 and 18:

Our facebook page for updates:

Book Your Stay:

Traveling by boat:
Visit: https://activecaptain.com/
Visit Weekly Local Notices to Mariners (LNM): http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lnmDistrict&region=7 LNM's are issued on Tuesday.  Last week's LNM had no mention of the floods.  So it is more probable that Tuesday Oct. 13 issue #41-15 will have some update.  However, mariner's transiting the ICW either north or south of Georgetown should be advised that Aids to Navigation (ATON's) may be missing or off station, and it will probably be a while before discrepancies are reported.
You can contact U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla staff officer for public affairs in Georgetown:
Bill Unger -  Home tel. 843-527-7840 or email wm.c.unger@gmail.com
Report from Bill Unger about Marinas along the ICW (Sunday, Oct 11 ):
Bucksport 843-397-5566 ---They are pumping gasoline, but their deisel pump was damaged by the flood
Wacca Wache 843-651-2994 -- currently not pumping fuel, possible transient docking available
Reserve Harbor 843-235-8262 -- good fuel
Heritage Plantation 843-237-3650 -- awaiting call back for conditions
Georgetown Landing 843-546-1776 -- good fuel
Belle Isle 843-546-8491

Traveling by car: (Sunday, Oct 11)
Highways to Georgetown:
Hwy. 521, Hwy. 701, Hwy 17 north & south are all open.
Hwy. 51 is currently closed on the east side of the Browns Ferry Bridge (Black River) and at Lanes Creek Bridge just west of Johnson & Dunbar roads.
Dunbar Rd. and bridge across the Black River may still be closed as well as some local roads in Georgetown Co. north of the Black River.