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Tybee Island installing sensors to measure ship wakes

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 5:47 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - As larger and larger ships can dock at the Georgia Ports, larger wakes from those ships strike some beaches on Tybee Island.

The Army Corps of Engineers are getting ready to install ocean sensors on Tybee’s north end to measure those wakes, so they can analyze everything from erosion to swimmer safety. The study is behind schedule, but project leaders are excited to finally get it going.

Around mid-week next week, all the ships that go in and out of the channel will be monitored 24/7 through live streamed data.

Members of the Army Corps of Engineers will be around Lazaretto Creek either on Friday of next week. They’ll attach sensors on the poles on either side of the river channel that leads into the ports.

Alan Robertson, the project manager, says the sensors can determine things like wave height, wind direction and speed. He says the wakes the big ships cause can be a public safety hazard.

He says they hope to understand many things from the study like if there are warnings, they can look for so they can alert the public or even close that part of the beach while ships pass through.

“Height of the tide in and out, speed of the ship, size of the ship. Trying to capture all of the data to, as best we can over four months, see what the data shows us about the ship wakes we’ve been experiencing on the north side of the island,” Robertson said.

While the sensors are being put in, Robertson says it won’t cause any sort of disruption to beachgoers.

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