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The Saga of the Shayne Michele

The resort town of Myrtle Beach’s attractions tend to be intentionally situated on or near the beach. However, “The Grand Strand’s” latest attraction was brought to shore through the force of nature by hurricane Ian on Friday, September 30th when a shrimp trawler named the Shayna Michelle washed ashore after losing power off the coast the day before the storm made landfall on Myrtle Beach.
The shrimp boat owned and operated by Holden Beach Seafood and named Shayna Michelle and her crew was attempting to make their way back home to Holden Beach, NC before the hurricane hit. However, on Thursday evening before the storm made landfall, they were stranded about two miles off the coast of Myrtle Beach due to engine difficulties. And although the Coast Guard was able to rescue the crew, who were treated at the local hospital for exposure and later released, they had to abandon the vessel and leave it adrift at sea. So eventually, and in the middle of Hurricane Ian’s arrival, the Shayna Michelle washed up on shore near the Mystic Sea Hotel in Myrtle Beach near Williams Street and Ocean Boulevard. Then soon afterward the Myrtle Beach Police quickly secured the area around the craft with barricades pending its removal.

The Shayna Michelle has a rich history, formerly named the Winds of Fortune, it, and its previous owner Captain Wayne Magwood was featured on the TV shows “Dirty Jobs, The Amazing Race” and Darius Rucker’s “Come Back Song” music video in 2010. Magwood retired from shrimping in 2020 and sadly, died later that year. In its previous life with Magwood, the boat was ported in the Charleston area. And Magwood was heralded as a legendary figure in his hometown of Mount Pleasant, SC which honored his life with a commemorative plaque on its Shem Creek pedestrian bridge. Magwood also was posthumously awarded the Cresco Historical Stewardship Award from the Mount Pleasant Historical Commission in December 2020. The award is presented annually to an individual, group, or organization that has done exemplary work in studying, preserving, restoring, or promoting the history of Mount Pleasant. “Capt. Wayne was a personification of his family’s multi-generational dedication to the history of Mount Pleasant and the health and conservation of our waterways,” the organization stated at the time.
This isn’t the first time that something has washed ashore during a hurricane and captured the local public’s fancy in Myrtle Beach. During Hurricane Dorian in 2019, a red Jeep was discovered on the sand, and it garnered national media attention as people tried to figure out how something so unrelated to the sea ended up in the surf. The powerful hurricane battered the car, smashed in the windshield, and ripped off the front bumper. According to a Myrtle Beach police report, the owner of the Jeep had let his cousin borrow it one to two weeks before the storm arrived, and then he apparently abandoned it on the beach.
The Shayna Michelle attracted hundreds of onlookers after washing ashore and Sunday afternoon dozens of people stood near the police barricades, drawn by the sight of the massive new attraction. The boat is 68 feet long and has booms that swing out 45 feet on either side. And so, visitors took photos of the boat, asking the police officer standing sentry duty questions about it as a few young children played nearby on one of the barricades situated closer to the ocean. Too, a City of Myrtle Beach spokesman advised people to stay away from the trawler. Trying to climb on the boat is dangerous, he said and can result in serious injury. It’s not just a recommendation to stay away from the boat and the local TV Station, WMBF News, reported that a 50-year-old man was arrested Friday and charged with disorderly conduct for climbing onto it shortly after it had washed ashore and was stuck in the surf. The man was charged with disorderly conduct.
Getting the vessel out will be quite an endeavor. “We have some equipment coming in to excavate a trench maybe,” the boat’s owner told WMBF News. “Or we’re going to run some lines from a bigger tugboat to get Shayna Michelle out.” Subsequently, crews did spend time Saturday working to remove the shrimp boat, but the process took several more days. The Shayna Michelle, which rested at a slant in the sand behind the Grande Beach Resort, belongs to the owner of Holden Beach Seafood in the town of Supply, North Carolina. The hope was to refloat it the next week. “I’m told they will be dredging tomorrow and bringing tugboats in to try and pull it back out to sea,” a spokesman said. “Ultimately, we are just securing it, but we are hoping for the best.”
When the shrimp boat lodged in the sand on Friday, a vacationer spotted it from his room at the Compass Cove resort on South Ocean Boulevard. He had come to the Grand Strand from the Charlotte, North Carolina, area to participate in the annual Fall Bike Week Rally, walked to the door, and immediately pointed out the boat to his girlfriend. “I couldn’t tell what it was,” he said. “I saw the lights on it. A silhouette was all you could see.” Once the couple figured out what they were watching, the sight floored them. They left their room and got as close as they could to the boat that night. On Saturday, they were at the barricades watching the crews work on the vessel. With the hurricane putting a damper on the bike week festivities, the shrimp boat’s arrival provided an unexpected added attraction.
“This has been exciting … definitely,” one bystander said. “It’s not every day you see a huge fishing boat on the beach.”
Ultimately the work crews succeeded in getting the boat loose and back out into the waters. The original plan was to remove the boat on Monday during high tide, but that didn’t happen because the residual rough seas caused by the storm surge kept two smaller tug boats from making their way to Myrtle Beach in time. So, on Tuesday, two other large shrimp boats were brought in to help pull Shayna Michelle out to sea and back to its home in Holden Beach after the crews dug a trench out to the ocean and then there was a line secured to her and then attached to the two other boats so that they could refloat the Shayna Michelle and pull her out into the ocean waters.
Over 100 people came out to the beach to say their final farewells to the shrimp boat that had been a topic of conversation for a couple of days. Another visitor to Myrtle Beach said she had a bird’s eye view of the boat since it had washed ashore. “I flew in Friday morning, I saw the ship and then I came back to book a hotel room with a balcony to watch this evolution of the ship being saved,” he said.
The captain of the shrimper explained that the crew was trying to make it on Thursday to Murrells Inlet, about 14 miles south of Myrtle Beach before the storm arrived but had experienced engine problems. Then the Coast Guard came in to rescue the four crewmen on board the ship. The crew anchored the boat but later Hurricane Ian’s powerful winds and storm surge forced the boat onto shore.
“There were a lot of man-hours that went into the recovery on all sides. I mean you got equipment operators, equipment captains, there were a lot of people involved in this, you know we’re one small part of it, and we’re happy to keep security,” the police spokesman said.
The beaching of the Shayna Michelle boat wasn’t anything even close to the “Miracle on the Hudson.” But it’s pretty much as exciting as things get around here besides riding a roller coaster or visiting a water park.