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17 year tradition ends for shrimp boat "Gracie Belle"

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Friends of Craig Reeves help him work to recover the Gracie Belle (Photo: Ian Dembling)

St. Helena Island, Sc (WTGS)-- Hundreds will head to Beaufort's Waterfront Park for two weekends full of fun and water and boat-related activities at the 62nd Annual Beaufort Water Festival.

One boat, however, won't be joining in on the fun this year.

The "Gracie Belle" is a shrimp boat owned by Craig Reaves. He says a bad storm on May 24th, the first day of shrimp season, destroyed the Gracie Belle, and the Coast Guard had to save his crew members.

“All the stern has been took off, all the way from the stern to the wheelhouse,” Reaves said.

Reaves said he lost more than $50,000 when the Gracie Belle was destroyed. He started a GoFundMe page that's only raised about 10% of that money as of July 15.

“There’s things that we’re doing to make our budget as lean and mean as possible,” Reaves said.

Until the boat is completely fixed, not only will they not be able to go back out for shrimp season, but the Gracie Belle won't be a part of Beaufort's Water Festival.

Things like scrounging up steel from a scrap yard, and renting a track hoe instead of hiring a professional crew. Today was reaves first day ever driving this machine.

“17 years that the Gracie Belle been downtown for the water festival so that’s kind of a little bit heartbreaking,” he said.

If you would like to donate to help save the Gracie Belle.