Coastal Strategies Works with the City of Tybee Island to Install Ocean Sensors to Measure Wave Data from Passing Supertankers

Savannah Port Photo.jpgPHOTO: WTOC


The Savannah Port is one of the deepest in the nation, and for a good reason. This port delivers many of the items we use regularly such as toothpaste, shoes, furniture and cars. But as the ships get bigger, and the channels get deeper, strange phenomenons can happen. In 2018, a family of beachgoers on the North End of Tybee Island were swept into the ocean by a passing ship wake that resembled more of a tsunami wave than a typical boat wake. After the water receeded more than 50 feet, a rush of waist deep water, created by a passing post-panamx supertanker, came raging back to shoreline carrying several family members with it into the inlet. While every member of the family survived, the City of Tybee Island recognized the immediate danger that these passing ships were creating on Tybee Island's shoreline.

To remedy this unintended consequence of bigger ships and deeper ports, the City of Tybee Island and the Savannah District of the Corps of Engineers developed a study using the Corps' Planning Assistance to States program to collect data to better understand which ship sizes, speed, tidal conditions, wind directions, and other data points can be compared to identify hazardous conditions that may recreate the tsunami-like waves that often occur when larger ships pass. Once the data has been collected, analyzed and reviewed, the City can make informed decisions on how to better protect its residents and visitors.

Coastal Strategies worked with City of Tybee Island, Members of Congress, and the United States Coast Guard to develop this study in partnership with the Corps of Engineers. This excellent use of the Corps Planning Assistance to States program will protect beachgoers in Tybee Island from dangerous conditions created by passing supertankers. Coastal Strategies continues its decades-long partnership with the City of Tybee Island and the Corps of Engineers to bolster the Island's safety and resilience to the dynamic nature of the Savannah Channel and the Georgia shoreline.

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