The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District officially welcomed its newest hydrographic survey vessel, the Beeman, with a dedication and christening ceremony in Newport, Oregon, on 11 January.
The Beeman, whose name honours the legacy of Ogden Beeman, chief of the Portland District’s Waterways Navigation Branch from 1960 to 1967, replaces and continues the work of the district’s ageing vessel, the Patterson, which surveyed Oregon’s coastal entrances for 22 years.
“This is a vessel with a critical mission, as dredging and structural operations and maintenance can’t take place without the data it will collect,” said Karla Ellis, the Portland District’s chief of Waterways Maintenance. “It’s always nice to get a new piece of equipment like this, but it’s equally meaningful to know that it also represents a legacy for family and friends, and we’re always honoured to be a part of that.”
Determining Where Dredging Is Needed
The Portland District maintains the vital navigation channels of the Pacific Northwest by performing maintenance dredging, which ensures that channels remain deep enough to accommodate the drafts of shipping vessels. The district’s survey vessels collect hydrographic data from river and harbour bottoms to determine where that dredging is needed.
The six survey vessels owned and operated by the district inform the dredging of 244 navigable river miles and 22 ports from Nehalem to Chetco, keeping the region’s waterways safe and reliable for the commercial transport of billions of dollars of goods annually, as well as for recreational uses.
The survey vessel Beeman improves on the technology of its predecessor, the Patterson. It was also specially designed with a shallow draft, which is ideal for safe operation in constrained areas and coastal conditions, allowing the district the best possible opportunity to obtain real-time data in dynamic environments.