News Releases

Corps of Engineers dedicates new coastal survey vessel in Newport

PORTLAND DISTRICT, CORPS OF ENGINEERS
Published Jan. 23, 2023
A small crowd of about a dozen people stands on a concrete dock, each person holding one hand stretched out toward a shiny, steel boat that says "Survey" above its front windows and "Beeman" on the side of the bow/front. It's a cloudy day, and the crowd is surrounded by dozens of other boats.

A U.S. Army chaplain leads a blessing in Newport, Oregon, Jan. 11 during the christening of the newest addition to the hydrographic survey vessel fleet owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District. A ship christening is a centuries-old maritime tradition that asks for a new vessel’s blessing and protection before it’s officially placed into operation. It typically includes a blessing and the smashing of an enclosed champagne bottle designed for ceremonial purposes over the ship’s bow. The new vessel, the Beeman, replaces and continues the mission of the Patterson, an aging boat that has surveyed Oregon’s coastal entrances for 22 years. The Corps named the new watercraft in honor of Ogden Beeman, the Portland District’s chief of Waterways Navigation from 1960-1967. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Chris Gaylord)

A woman in a dark blue coat standing on a concrete dock smashes a ceremonial champagne bottle over the bow/front of a shiny, steel boat on a cloudy, gray day. A few other people stand around her watching and smiling.

Christie Beeman, daughter of Ogden Beeman, who led the Waterways Navigation Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District from 1960-1967, breaks a ceremonial champagne bottle over the bow of the district’s newest hydrographic survey vessel, the Beeman, during the boat’s christening in Newport, Oregon, Jan. 11. A ship christening is a centuries-old maritime tradition that asks for a new vessel’s blessing and protection before it’s officially placed into operation. It typically includes a blessing and the smashing of an enclosed champagne bottle designed for ceremonial purposes over the ship’s bow. The Beeman replaces and continues the mission of the Patterson, an aging boat that has surveyed Oregon’s coastal entrances for 22 years. The Portland District maintains 244 navigable river miles along with 22 ports and harbors as part of its long-standing navigation mission. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Chris Gaylord)

A woman in a dark blue coat and black pants standing on a concrete dock next to a shiny, steel boat proudly holds up a smashed ceremonial champagne bottle dripping liquid. She is smiling and happy. Several other people stand around her, two of them in military camo uniforms, clapping and smiling. It's a gray, cloudy day.

Christie Beeman, daughter of Ogden Beeman, who led the Waterways Navigation Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District from 1960-1967, holds up a broken ceremonial champagne bottle that she broke over the bow of the district’s newest hydrographic survey vessel, the Beeman, during the boat’s christening in Newport, Oregon, Jan. 11. A ship christening is a centuries-old maritime tradition that asks for a new vessel’s blessing and protection before it’s officially placed into operation. It typically includes a blessing and the smashing of an enclosed champagne bottle designed for ceremonial purposes over the ship’s bow. The Beeman replaces and continues the mission of the Patterson, an aging boat that has surveyed Oregon’s coastal entrances for 22 years. The Portland District maintains 244 navigable river miles along with 22 ports and harbors as part of its long-standing navigation mission. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Chris Gaylord)

A shiny, steel boat backs away from a dock on a cloudy, gray day as dozens of people watch and wave to the boat from the shore line in the background.

The newest addition to the hydrographic survey vessel fleet owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District leaves for its first ride after its official christening ceremony in Newport, Oregon, Jan. 11. The new vessel, the Beeman, honors the legacy of Ogden Beeman, who led the district’s Waterways Navigation Branch from 1960-1967. The new watercraft replaces and continues the mission of the Patterson, an aging boat that has surveyed Oregon’s coastal entrances for 22 years. The Portland District maintains 244 navigable river miles along with 22 ports and harbors as part of its long-standing navigation mission. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Chris Gaylord)

A shiny, steel boat moves along the water on a gray, cloudy day with a massive green bridge in the background.

The newest addition to the hydrographic survey vessel fleet owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District takes its first ride after its official christening ceremony in Newport, Oregon, Jan. 11. The new vessel, the Beeman, honors the legacy of Ogden Beeman, who led the district’s Waterways Navigation Branch from 1960-1967. The new watercraft replaces and continues the mission of the Patterson, an aging boat that has surveyed Oregon’s coastal entrances for 22 years. The Portland District maintains 244 navigable river miles along with 22 ports and harbors as part of its long-standing navigation mission. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Chris Gaylord)

A man and woman take a selfie on the back of a shiny, steel boat on a gray, cloudy day. Another man and woman stand off to the side. Everyone is smiling.

Pete Beeman (far left) and Christie Beeman (second from left), son and daughter (respectively) of Ogden Beeman, who led the Waterways Navigation Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District from 1960-1967, take a selfie while aboard the district’s new survey vessel, which was named in honor of Ogden Beeman and christened in Newport, Oregon, Jan. 11. A ship christening is a centuries-old maritime tradition that asks for a new vessel’s blessing and protection before it’s officially placed into operation. The new vessel replaces and continues the mission of the Patterson, an aging boat that has surveyed Oregon’s coastal entrances for 22 years. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Chris Gaylord)

NEWPORT, Ore. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District officially welcomed its newest hydrographic survey vessel, the Beeman, with a dedication and christening ceremony in Newport, Oregon, Jan. 11.

The Beeman, whose name honors the legacy of Ogden Beeman, chief of the Portland District’s Waterways Navigation Branch from 1960-1967, replaces and continues the work of the district’s aging vessel, the Patterson, which surveyed Oregon’s coastal entrances for 22 years.   

“This is a vessel with a critical mission, as dredging and structural operations and maintenance can’t take place without the data it will collect,” said Karla Ellis, the Portland District’s chief of Waterways Maintenance. “It’s always nice to get a new piece of equipment like this, but it’s equally meaningful to know that it also represents a legacy for family and friends, and we’re always honored to be a part of that.”

The Portland District maintains the vital navigation channels of the Pacific Northwest by performing maintenance dredging, which ensures channels remain deep enough to accommodate the drafts of shipping vessels. The district’s survey vessels collect hydrographic data from river and harbor bottoms to determine where that dredging is needed.

The six survey vessels owned and operated by the district inform the dredging of 244 navigable river miles and 22 ports from Nehalem to Chetco, keeping the region’s waterways safe and reliable for the commercial transport of billions of dollars of goods annually, as well as for recreational uses.

The survey vessel Beeman improves on the technology of its predecessor, the Patterson. It was also specially designed with a shallow draft ideal for safe operation in constrained areas and coastal conditions, allowing the district the best possible opportunity to obtain real-time data in dynamic environments.

Background: Navigation is one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ earliest civil works missions, dating back to 1824, and the original basis for establishing the Corps’ Portland District. The U.S. Congress, recognizing the importance of the Columbia and Willamette rivers to the economy of the Northwest, established the Portland District in 1871. One of the original goals of the district was to remove obstacles to navigation in the two rivers. Today, the region’s commercial development is still dependent on safe passage of seagoing ships across the bars and up the waterways. The Portland District keeps Oregon’s waterways safe and navigable through sandbar dredging and channel deepening, ensuring safe transport for billions of dollars in waterborne commerce annually. The district also built and maintains 12 jetties along Oregon’s coast, which aid ships traveling between the river and the ocean. To learn more about the Portland District’s navigation mission, visit https://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/.

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Contact
Chris Gaylord
503-808-4510
christopher.m.gaylord@usace.army.mil

Release no. 23-003

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