As you cross over the bridges on to Hilton Head during the summer months, you can often see the shrimping boats heading out or coming in after a day of trawling. Shrimping has always played a large role in the Low Country, especially when it is shrimping season – June 1 to late December or early January.
On a typical day a shrimp boats crew will load ice into a hatch and go out in search of shrimp. You can see the shrimp boats trawling for shrimp just off shore. Trawling is when the nets are dropped in the water and dragged behind the boat for a period of time. As soon as the nets are full, they are hoisted out of the water and the crew begins to pop the heads off the shrimp immediately and send the shrimp down a chute into the hatch. This process is continued all day or until the hatch is full. Once the shrimp boat is back in port a conveyor belt quickly brings the shrimp up to be weighed, counted, boxed, and put on ice again. All are sold in less than 24 hours often to local restaurants and citizens.
Want to live the life of a shrimper? The Coastal Discovery Museum has a Shrimp Trawling cruise on select Tuesday’s. This interactive cruise will take you from Hudson’s dock out into Port Royal Sound where you’ll have a chance to see how a shrimp trawler works – and find out about all the critters that can be found in its nets. You might even have a chance to “share in the catch” Please call the Museum for available dates and information.