The Post and Courier of Charleston reported work started Tuesday in the Ashley River. Officials say the boats are a navigational hazard and can cause pollution.
The work is being done under a contract with the city of Charleston and the Department of Health and Environmental Control under a $60,000 grant.
None of the boats appear to be salvageable and are probably going to trash dumps since they often break up during the removal.
Most of the valuable items and electronics on board already have been stripped away. Police Sgt. Chad Womack says some boats appear to have been intentionally abandoned, with their registration numbers filed down.
Officials haven't been able to find owners of the boats being removed now.