Equipment has begun to arrive to unclog waterways in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island.
Work is set to begin Nov. 27, beginning with the Harbour Town Yacht Basin, said Mark King, president of the Club Group, managing agent for the Harbour Town Boat Slip Owners Association.
A large dredge has already arrived, along with barges. More equipment is on its way, King said, including pipes and a smaller dredge needed to maneuver between dock slips inside the yacht basin. The smaller dredge is expected to arrive next week, he said.
The association of boat-slip owners and Sea Pines residents hired Orion Marine Construction Inc. to clear sediment from the yacht basin, Gull Point and South Beach marinas, and Braddock Cove and Baynard Cove creeks.
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Work to clear the yacht basin should be completed by Christmas, King said, and the other waterways should be cleared by mid- to late-March.
The contractor plans to pump nearly 300,000 cubic yards of sediment to a 100-acre site at the mouth of Calibogue Sound, about a mile from the island's toe and 1.5 miles from Daufuskie Island. The sound's strong currents should flush the sediment out to sea, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The project is being privately funded by boat-slip owners, Sea Pines Resort, and Gull Point and South Beach homeowners.
When completed, the dredging should improve access to and from Calibogue Sound for recreational and commercial craft, according to the association.
Sediment has accumulated over the past decade, making the yacht basin too shallow for boats to navigate during low tide and causing the marina to lose business, according to Sea Pines officials. It also is impossible for the largest yachts that provide a backdrop for the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing to dock there.
The dredging accompanies other work at the marina, including electrical improvements, bulkhead repairs and dock replacements, King said. Those will be completed by March, he said. The work also coincides with a new beach club and golf learning center at Sea Pines Resort set to open next year.