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Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute conducted a hydrographic survey at South Street Seaport on March 1. The project was done as a public service for the South Street Seaport Museum.

South Street Seaport Museum reached out to the Urban Coast Institute requesting assistance in surveying water depths between piers 15 and 16 in the lower East River. The Museum’s fleet of historic ships has been berthed between these piers for many years, but water depths have not been known with precision. With plans in the works to move the bigger ships within their berths, accurate depth information was crucial.

Urban Coast Institute Marine Scientist Jim Nickels, with the assistance of Monmouth University marine and environmental policy students Bryan Hewins and David James, took the survey.  Nickels is a licensed U.S. Coast Guard Captain and a board certified hydrographer. The Monmouth University survey vessel, Sea Hawk, was used along with sophisticated GPS and depth sounding equipment to give accurate positions and water depths, along with a side scan sonar to look for debris or obstructions that could damage the Wavertree during its movement.

Waterfront Director Captain Jonathan Boulware said: “In many areas of our berths, we haven’t had a good look at depths or bottom contours in years. Now, with the data from UCI, we have a much clearer idea of what the bottom looks like.”

For more information on the ships, visit South Street Seaport Museum’s website at

For more information on the Urban Coast Institute,