Cavache Inc.: Longboat Key Dredging Project

ED- Cavache Inc.; Longboat Key Dredging Project 01

ED- Cavache Inc.; Longboat Key Dredging Project 02

ED- Cavache Inc.; Longboat Key Dredging Project 03

Emergency beach fill on Longboat Key using Longboat pass sand trap.

Source: Town of Longboat Key

What’s going on?

Longboat Key, as many other South Florida beach communities, is consistently losing their beach to tidal cycles, currents, waves and weather.  This material gets transported from the beach and much of it ends up just inside the inlet.  The result is areas of depleted beaches, some dangerously so, and pockets of beach compatible material located inside the inlet.

For this Project, sponsored by the West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND) and the Town of Longboat Key, Cavache will be removing some of that beach compatible sand and pumping it back onto portions of Longboat Key where it is desperately needed.  The project will provide improved storm protection to upland structures on an interim basis and provide improved environmental habitat for shorebirds and sea turtles.

In comes  the “Maya  Caelyn”.  This dredge is a 16-inch cutter suction dredge specializing in this type of work.  She is equipped with a spud carriage barge which allows her to dredge a wider cut much more efficiently.  In essence, she will use her cutter head to dig out the sand and then vacuum it up and out through the pipeline and onto the beach.

On the beach there will be an excavator, bull dozer and loader constantly monitoring the outflow of the pumped sand material.  You’ll see an additional booster pump halfway along the pipeline which will help push the material almost 11,000 feet to the beach.  You’ll see portions of the pipeline  floating behind the dredge, sunk to the bottom of the channel so boats can get by, and laying on the beach.  And the Dredge will be attended by a support boat at all times. All this will allow us to transport the sand from the channels and build up the beach.

If you would like to know more, feel free to contact the Town of Longboat Key Public Works Department at 941-316-1988 or  Cavache at 954-568-0007.

When and for how long?

Mobilization is anticipated on or around May 1.  Dredging is expected to begin on or around May 14.  It will be ongoing until the middle of July.  Dredging operations will typically run six days a week, 12-hours, excluding Saturdays, but may extend to seven days, 24-hour operations.  Upon completion of the beach re-nourishment, the contractor will demobilize.  The North Shore Beach Access will be closed while sand is being pumped and equipment is mobilized in that area.  The centrally located Broadway Beach Access and boardwalk will be closed for two days while equip-ment and pipe are being mobilized on the beach. For the remainder of the project the access and boardwalk will be re-opened and an access trail to the beach maintained.

The Beach

Heavy equipment will be moving around the beach supporting the dredging operations.  An excavator and a bulldozer will create a temporary berm which will  collect the sand and water mixture coming out of the pipe. The heavy sand will fall out and remain on the beach as the water gets routed back into the Gulf of Mexico.  This is how we build the beach.  Around 99,000 cubic yards of sand are  available in the sand traps to be pumped onto the beach.  Monitoring activities and appropriate protective measures for shorebirds and turtles are included in this project.


To work, the dredge swings between two anchors.  It is constantly in motion.  Boaters need to be aware of this and give the dredge a wide berth.

The dredge can be reached on VHF Channel 16.  A support boat is always in attendance to assist.  The dredge is considered a RAM (Restricted Ability to Move)  by the Coast Guard and as such should be granted the right of way.  Please pass the dredge slowly and be considerate.  Watch for the floating and sunken pipeline. Both will be clearly marked to prevent any boats from running into it.

Just remember to use common sense. Stay back at least 100 feet and be aware of the dredge’s location and limited maneuverability.

Reprinted from Town of Longboat Key