While the 2020 boating season certainly got off to a different start than usual, thousands of boaters have been on the water enjoying beautiful weather and a freshly-dredged waterway. With Memorial Day weekend upcoming, the influx of boaters on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway will likely be high.
In July 2019, the Charleston District completed work dredging 500,000 cubic yards of material from Breach Inlet near Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms. This work restored this section of the AIWW to its authorized depth of 12 feet, where it hadn’t been in 10 years.
This project was part of an overall $9.4 million project stemming from supplemental hurricane disaster funding to remove approximately 1.5 million cubic yards of material from high-shoaling areas between Charleston and Georgetown. The entire project is currently 75 percent complete and is expected to be finished sometime this summer.
“We haven’t seen this amount of dredging work on the AIWW in the previous 10 years,” said Johnson. “The District is proud to be able to keep the federal channel at a depth to allow for commercial and recreational boaters to pass through without issue.”
The material being dredged is pumped into placement sites up and down the waterway. The placement sites have also seen construction with perimeter dike wall raising, which allows for more material to be pumped in. Over time, the material will dry in the placement areas and future work will be done.
If you’re enjoying the AIWW for Memorial Day, and all summer long, remember the following boating safety tips:
- ALWAYS wear a life jacket
- Ensure your boat is in good working order before leaving on your trip
- Adhere to signage in the channel and obey appropriate boating rules
- Watch out for commercial vehicles or construction equipment, like dredge pipes
- Never drink alcohol while operating a boat
- Review the Coast Guard’s safe boating guides
Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day!