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Location DB > United States > Texas > Houston > The Ship Channel
The Ship Channel
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 Database Info
created by Explorer Zero on 3/2/2008 11:51 PM
last modified by Explorer Zero on 10/22/2014 11:24 PM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled by its creator as Public, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
About 52 miles of navigable commercial waterways which includes man made channels as well as natural rivers, bays and bayous.

The port handles over 215 million tons of cargo each year and is the home of over 150 businesses including many petrochemical plants and refineries.

Its only fair to point out that the Federal government regulates a lot of what goes on here maybe as much if not more than the State of Texas does.

 Basic Information
Type: Outdoors
Status: Active
Accessibility: Difficult, small craft are prohibited
Recommendation: worth the trip
 Physical Information

Houston, Texas
United States
Owner: Houston Port Authority
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
  • water
  • large ocean going vessels, toxic chemicals
  •  Interesting Features
    Lots of abandoned buildings, derelict ships, warehouses, refineries, depots, wharves, too many to list.
     Security Measures
  • fences
  • barbed wire
  • razor wire
  • dogs
  • part-time guard
  • 24 hour guard
  • locked gates
  • cameras
  • Just about every security measure you can imagine is employed here including but not limited to remote controlled cameras, infra-red cameras, sonar, radar, radiation detectors, active USCG and POHA patrols and real time vessel tracking via satellite
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 1842
    Closed: 0
     Required Equipment
  • A pair of big brass ones would help
  •  Recommended Equipment
    A car, light truck or motorcycle is helpful, a power boat, kayak or rubber dingy would be of no use this port is closed to all non-official small craft and recreational boat traffic
    Commercial shipping started here in 1837 by the official record but mariners have sailed here even before then. Indians, pirates, fisherman all navigated the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou in search of food, trade and treasure. Today its one of the Nations busiest commercial seaports.

    In 1842 Houston established The Port of Houston and allowed construction of wharves and the removal of obstructions but nearby Galveston remained the primary port of entry and soon Houston financial interests grew weary of paying the high fees Galveston wharf authorities demanded.

    In 1870 the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers undertook the widening and dredging of The Channel to 100ft wide and one fathom average depth (hardly enough draw for anything larger than a flat bottom river boat). By 1914 the channel averaged 25ft deep but further development ended with the U.S. entry into WWI.

    By 1930 nine oil refineries had been built along the narrow waterway making it easy to transport the millions of barrels of petroleum products, etc, etc, this goes on through WWII and its all kind of boring unless youre a shipping history buff. Whats important to know now is this was the beginning of a major environmental disaster for the area and widening it and dredging it to more than 45ft deep made it a deep water port so very large vessels were using it now and its been growing and getting more polluted ever since.

    The Port of Houston is a major thread in the economic fabric of the United States and this is why security is so high and has gotten even more severe since 9/11. Nevertheless The Houston Ship Channel continues to offer some excellent opportunities for the careful explorer such as this one:

    EDIT: I made this public in the hope that someday, somebody will put on an orange life vest take a clipboard and hard hat then walk around the place like they owned it and get some better shots. I had second thoughts about suggesting anyone try exploring here because of the high level or enforcement and draconian penalties if caught. It remains one of Houston's iconic locations.

     Media Coverage

     Future Plans
    It will continue to be a seaport, I don't see it being used as anything else, its just too polluted for a water park.
    Terrorist's Top Target
    Mon, Mar 3rd, 2008
    posted by Explorer Zero

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     Photo Galleries
    Click to view gallery
    Mon, Mar 3rd, 2008
    posted by Explorer Zero
    5 pictures

    Add your own photos

    Mark all galleries as Seen
     Web Links
    POHA website

    Know your MARSEC levels


    Edit this Location
     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    Category Rating
    Photography 8 / 10
    Coolness 9 / 10
    Content Quality 8 / 10
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Mike Dijital on 10/24/2014 11:44 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Oct 24 14 at 23:44, Mike Dijital validated this location
  • on Oct 22 14 at 23:24, Explorer Zero changed the following: Web Links
  • on Oct 22 14 at 13:17, Explorer Zero changed the following: Security Measures, Recommended Equipment, Description
  • on Oct 22 14 at 13:07, Explorer Zero updated gallery picture I dont got to show you no bridges
  • on Oct 22 14 at 13:06, Explorer Zero updated gallery picture The Gold Indus
  • on Oct 22 14 at 13:05, Explorer Zero updated gallery picture The Pacific Java
  • on Oct 22 14 at 13:04, Explorer Zero updated gallery picture The Navalmar
  • on Oct 22 14 at 13:04, Explorer Zero updated gallery picture Tower crane
  • on Oct 22 14 at 13:03, Explorer Zero updated gallery MARSEC LEVEL 1
  • on Oct 22 14 at 13:01, Explorer Zero changed the following: Notes for Mods, History, Accessibility, Interesting Features, Security Measures, Required Equipment, Future Plans, Description
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