There is a new type of CRAB on Folly Beach, but unlike the other crabs that reside there, this one will be gone by summer.
The Coastal Research Amphibious Buggy first came to Great Lakes Dredging and Dock, the contractor for the project, in the early 1980’s. Once it was established as a safe, efficient platform for surveying the surf zone on beach renourishment projects, GLDD designed and ordered two more CRABs to add to their fleet. These CRABs are the only ones of their kind as GLDD has exclusive rights to the design. Gathering data on the beach can be tricky due to waves, currents and weather, but those factors have no effect on the CRAB as the operator stays dry and safe in the platform. The GPS on the CRAB is fully automated and enhances data gathering efficiency, improves the quality of the data gathered and adds reliability to customer reports.
"The CRAB is a unique three-wheeled vehicle that has a calibrated GPS on board which collects topographic surveys from the dune out into the surf" said Caleb Brewer, GIS analyst. "This ensures that the correct amount of sand is being placed throughout the renourishment."
Since safety is a number one priority to the Corps and GLDD, the units are fully equipped with a permanent hydraulic piping, a weatherproof radio, skid proof flooring, a fire extinguisher and a multitude of recovery equipment.
While there are several other pieces of equipment used to ensure that the beach is properly renourished, such as a bulldozer, a backhoe, a front end loader to move the several miles of pipes, and a dredge that is three miles out to sea, the CRAB is by far the most unusual.