Dare County, N.C., in partnership with EJE Dredging Service, has announced that Miss Katie — a shallow-draft hopper dredge built at Conrad Shipyard, Morgan City, La. — has arrived on North Carolina's Outer Banks. Wanchese, N.C., will serve as the dredge’s homeport. Construction on the dredge began in March 2021 

“The completion of Miss Katie and her long-awaited arrival here on the Outer Banks … will be a game-changer for watermen in Dare County,” said Dare County board of commissioners’ chairman Bob Woodard. “Commercial and recreational fishing are not just enormous economic drivers in our community — they’ve also been a way of life for thousands of folks here in Dare County for generations,” he continued. “It’s absolutely critical that we have the resources in place to properly dredge our channels and inlets that these watermen depend on as their highway to get to work every day, and thanks to the county’s partnership with EJE Dredging and the arrival of Miss Katie, we’ll be much better equipped to do just that.”

The completion of the hopper dredge is the result of a years-long collaboration between Dare County officials and Greenville, N.C.-based EJE Dredging, a private partner that owns and operates the 156' dredge.

“With the arrival of the Miss Katie, we look forward to providing an open and navigable channel for the waterways in the region,” said Jordan Hennessy, vice president of EJE Dredging. “The Miss Katie has been specifically developed and designed to ensure she will be able to safely navigate the channels and inlets of North Carolina. The split-hull configuration will allow spoil discharge in shallow waters, thus preventing the vessel from grounding on her own hopper load.”

Miss Katie now operates with two ZF ATZ 4111 stern-mounted azimuth thrusters, each featuring depth adjustment. It also has an all-new ZF hydraulic wet clutch, mounted against the engine flywheel, and a recently released ZF ThrusterCommand AT control system. In addition to providing thruster control, the system provides follow-up steering and propulsion control, as well as independent backup and emergency stop systems.

In 2019, the Dare County board of commissioners approved a contract for the construction and operation of a new shallow-draft hopper dredge that could be used to address the significant shoaling that occurs in various channels and inlets throughout Dare County. Funding for the project came from a public-private partnership with the state of North Carolina, with $15 million allocated from the Shallow Draft Navigation Channel Dredging and Aquatic Weed Fund for the purchase of the dredge.

The Miss Katie will perform strategic dredging operations throughout the region in order to address the ongoing issues caused by shoaling. 

You can track Miss Katie’s movements here.

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