Here’s where the “leverman” sits for a twelve-hour shift as the C. R. McCaskill slews port to starboard 400′ once each three and a half minutes. Another way of saying that is the dredge moves using a five-point mooring system: two swing anchors, two breast anchors and one stern anchor to move forward or back. A different configuration uses a spudded idler barge; in this case, the “swing” is longer and takes more more time. Food gets delivered so that the leverman aka dredge operator can monitor all these screens and respond so that dredging can proceed 24/7 as long as equipment and conditions permit. More on food later.
Slewing . . . drawing on cables attached to positioned anchors and pivoting on a stern point . . . requires that the 30” diamater hose be able to flex. Hence, the easy curved slack before the piping to the beach.
The crewboat in the distance alternates between hydrographic survey work and other tasks. More on that in a moment. More crewboats in a future post.
Attachment at the stern is a ball and socket joint . . . like your hip.
Here’s the starboard GE engine, part of the power supply to the dredge.
Here is another view of the two huge hull-mounted pumps that do the work.
Another task of the crewboat is illustrated here: recreational boaters sometimes allow their curiosity to override any sense of danger caused by a busy, slewing dredge.
The helicopter happened to be here on assignment to photograph the work from the air.
About the food, here’s mission control presided over by Edwina Arthur, a member of the 30-50 person crew.
Food rules and pecking order are clearly posted.
Captain Randy Guidry, my host for this tour, proudly displays the builder’s plate, Corn Island Shipyard in Indiana, where the hull was constructed.
As I stated in the previous post, McCaskill’s part in the dredging/beach replenishment has now ended and vessels and crew have moved south for the next job.
Many thanks to Captain Guidry, Jan Andrusky, and all the other fine folks at Weeks Marine for this tour.
All fotos, text, and (any inadvertent errors) by Will Van Dorp.