The dredging of Sea Pines' marinas and waterways, including Harbour Town Yacht Basin, has ended, just ahead of their busiest season.
Contractor Orion Marine Group Inc. finished unclogging Braddock Cove creek March 9, including Gull Point and South Beach marinas. The dredging project began at Harbour Town Yacht Basin in November, and finished there in January.
All that's left is for inspectors to spend the next few days reviewing their survey of the waterways, according to project manager Larry Setzler of GEL Engineering.
With the basins cut to a depth of about 8.5 feet -- compared with only 4 feet before dredging -- the marinas can "accommodate boats at any tide," said Rob Bender, Sea Pines' director of recreation and marine operations.
The dredging project pumped about 240,000 cubic yards of sediment to a 100-acre site at the mouth of Calibogue Sound. From there, the mud was swept out to sea, with the exception of a 100-square-foot mound that reached about 5 feet high, Setzler said.
GEL Engineering is monitoring that area, which Setzler said is dissipating over time.
"They're letting us let time take its course," he said. A group of boat-slip owners and Sea Pines residents funded the dredging, along with Sea Pines Resort and Gull Point and South Beach marinas.
With the work done, charters are now heading out more often, and the Harbour Town Yacht Basin, which had to turn away boats longer than about 60 or 70 feet, can once again accommodate large boats at low tide, Bender said. Additionally, about a dozen slips are usable after being cleared of silt buildup.
That will come in handy when the area returns to the national spotlight during the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing from April 14 to 20.
Slips for the week of the PGA Tour event are filling up faster than in past years, with about 90 percent reserved as of Thursday, Bender said.
Some of those reservations are for the big yachts that lend themselves to large parties, enhancing the atmosphere of the week, tournament director Steve Wilmot said. They also make for impressive scenery for TV audiences, he said.
"We're a unique stop on the PGA Tour because of the harbor," he said. "When the blimp goes over and shows these boats ... it just adds to the excitement."
Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.