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Dare County Announces Arrival of Miss Katie from Conrad Shipyard

Posted on August 22, 2022

With more than 100 miles of coastline — and a wide array of surrounding waterways that range from sounds to salt marshes — the Outer Banks is home to one of the largest fishing industries in the entire country.  Critical sectors of the Outer Banks economy rely on access through these channels that serve as a highway for area watermen.

Commercial and sport fishing — as well as its supporting industries, which include boat building; seafood packing and processing; and tournament fishing — are all integral to the Outer Banks economy, providing thousands of jobs and contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Dare County each year.

Without proper dredging, commercial fishing boats and recreational vessels both run the risk of running aground in the shallow water. And as a result, many Outer Banks fishermen end up taking their catch to neighboring states whose waterways are more accessible.

To ensure that vessels are able to safely navigate the channels and inlets that exist in Dare County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the responsibility of dredging the federally authorized channels. But a lack of time and resources has significantly held up many dredging projects — and allowed shoaling to take over and shifting sandbars to seal off some of these waterways to the boats that require deeper water to make it through.

On May 20, 2019, the Dare County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a contract for the construction and operation of a new shallow-draft hopper dredge for use in the various channels and inlets throughout Dare County.

Funding for the project came from a public-private partnership with the state of North Carolina, in which the legislature allocated $15 million from the Shallow Draft Navigation Channel Dredging and Aquatic Weed Fund for the purchase of the dredge.

The dredge — which has been named “Miss Katie” — was constructed in Louisiana from March 2021 to July 2022 and arrived in Dare County in August 2022.

“Miss Katie” will be managed by the Oregon Inlet Task Force and able to operate up to 12 hours a day (weather permitting)—providing the strategic dredging that is needed to keep area waterways open and navigable for commercial and recreational vessels.


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