A new survey vessel has joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Baltimore District to help keep the many channels serving the port of Baltimore and the upper Chesapeake Bay safe for navigation.
The Corps formally dedicated the new hydrographic survey vessel Catlett in an Inner Harbor ceremony Thursday.
The Catlett is named for the late Harold Lloyd Catlett Jr., a longtime survey employee for the Corps' Baltimore District who died suddenly in 2014. A Baltimore County native, Catlett joined the Corps in 1978 after serving as a Marine. He rose to senior survey technician, overseeing hydrographic surveys throughout the bay.
The vessel eventually will replace the survey vessel Linthicum, which has served the Baltimore District since 1978 but will be retired soon. The Linthicum was part of the project to deepen Baltimore harbor channels to 50 feet in the 1980s, which continues to pay dividends as cargo ships grow ever larger.
"It takes a fleet of uniquely designed vessels, as well as experts, to perform our important navigation mission," Col. Ed. Chamberlayne, the Corps' Baltimore District commander, said in a statement. "Today is about honoring Harold Catlett — the man, friend and teammate."
The survey boats assist in the design, construction and maintenance of more than 100 federal navigation projects in the Chesapeake Bay, regularly scanning and mapping channels to ensure that they are free of obstructions.
"The survey vessel was a second home to Harold," his sister, Angela Leone, said in a statement. "This is an historic and proud moment to see the Catlett name on the side of this new vessel."
Built by Technology Associates of New Orleans, the 61-foot Catlett is a twin-hull vessel powered by two 1,000-horsepower engines with a top-speed in excess of 38 nautical miles per hour. The hull design allows it to more easily lower surveying equipment into the water.