CHARLESTON, S.C. – As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District continues dredging the Charleston harbor to deepen it to 52 feet, officials with the district are reminding tri-county residents to practice safety in and around the harbor.
“Always be aware of your surroundings,” said Shelia Sollis, the chief of safety and occupational health for the district. “Be on the lookout for approaching vessels, floating debris, and unmarked hazards. The federal channel is a marine highway and construction on the water should be treated the same as it would be on pavement, approach with caution.”
Stretching across roughly 40 miles of open ocean and inner channels, the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project has a historic number of dredges working around-the-clock to complete the deepening work by the end of 2022.
“Please follow all navigational rules and allow for as much clearance as possible to safely navigate around the work areas,” said Sollis. “Many of these dredges have ancillary equipment that support the dredging activity. Some of the equipment could even be submerged, but it will always be clearly marked.”
Residents should immediately report issues associated with improperly marked or unmarked dredging components (such as dredge pipes and floats) to the nearest Coast Guard unit. These items can cause extensive damage to hulls, shafting, rudders, and keels of passing watercraft.
“Please report issues, but never approach the dredging site or any related project equipment under any circumstances, whether they are active operations or not,” added Sollis.
Sollis also recommends operating watercraft at a speed that allows you to see and avoid the hazards.
“Slow down when in or approaching a congested waterway and when weather or visibility conditions are poor,” said Sollis. “No-wake speeds should be observed in active work zones.”
Equally important is to always wear your life jacket when on or near the water. Accidents happen unexpectedly. They float and you don’t!
To learn more about the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project and see our video on the dredging activity, visit our website at https://www.sac.usace.army.mil/. For the latest updates, follow “Charleston Corps” on social media.