At the end of March we spent two days and nights docked on the Savannah River on Hutchinson Island. What a great location for ship watching. From decades of ship watching on the Great Lakes I am accustomed to seeing large ships, but the biggest we get on the inland seas are 1,000-foot long and 75-foot beam due to restrictions in locks, and draft is limited to about 23-feet, air draft to 150-feet. The port of Savannah has only two restrictions: water draft and air draft. The river at MLW has 43-feet of water (minimum project depth). There is a semi-diurnal tide that adds about seven feet to that twice a day. That is the limit on water draft. Air draft is limited by Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge, which has 185-feet of clearance at the span center.
With those generous constraints some amazingly large ships can come up to the port. We saw many container ships with length of 334-meters (1,095-feet) and beam of 45-meters (148-feet) coming up the river and passing quite close abeam our position on the dock. These monsters were loaded with containers and appeared to just be able to get under the bridge.
We did see a number of classic Boston Whaler boats running in the river and surrounding creeks. But the most fun was watching those behemoth ships slowly creep past us at 4-knots. The really big ships all seemed to move on the high tide periods, which meant we might see a procession of two or more entering or leaving the port in a matter of 30-minutes around high tide. From the cockpit of the boat down at water level, one of these monsters going by at night would blot out the entire city skyline for five minutes as it went by.
Accounts of trips taken in Boston Whaler boats; organization of rendezvous for Boston Whaler boats
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