CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After reopening the Charleston Harbor Friday night, the U.S. Coast Guard is working this weekend to repair damage left behind from Hurricane Dorian.
Saturday’s calm waters and clear skies are a far cry from earlier this week as intense winds and heavy rain pushed boats up against bridges and moved buoys from their posts.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Phillip VanderWeit with the Coast Guard’s Charleston sector said reopening the port safely by working with the other organizations like the Army Corps of Engineers and the state’s port authority is a key part of overall recovery.
“The port of Charleston contributes $53 billion annually to the states economy and the region,” VanderWeit said. “So, that’s critical to make sure that we’re safety and efficiently returning the port to normal operations.”
Two major Coast Guard cutters came into the harbor Saturday to help repair and secure large buoys that were shifted by rough waters during the storm.
Margaret Kennedy is the commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Willow which came up from Jacksonville, Florida.
“Once they determine that the ports are safe, we go in and kind of clean up the mess,” Kennedy said. “So, whatever the storm leaves behind, moving the buoys around causing damage. We can go in and put everything back together the way it’s supposed to be.”
With plenty of boats back on the water this weekend, the Coast Guard wants to remind boaters to still stay cautious when they’re out.
“A large hurricane just passed through, that means there could be floating debris in our waterways,” VanderWeit said. “Safety goes the same whether it is in June, July or even now just after the passing of a hurricane.”
Officials with the Coast Guard say despite some damage, there were no emergency water rescue calls made during the hurricane.
Clean up is expected to last through the weekend.