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2018 Cooper River Bridge Run, maritime safety through partnership

By U.S. Coast Guard Ens. Phillip VanderWeit | USCG Sector Charleston | April 18, 2018

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. —

Although it may only take the fastest runners around 30 minutes to complete the Cooper River Bridge Run, months of planning and preparation ensured the event proceeded in a smooth, secure and most importantly, safe manner.

Since its inception in 1978, the popularity of the Cooper River Bridge Run has grown exponentially and has solidified itself as one of the top-three largest 10k races in the country. The race crosses multiple jurisdictions; starting in Mount Pleasant and ending in downtown Charleston; which includes a 2.5 mile stretch over the Cooper River via the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge which provides spectacular views of the Charleston Harbor. In addition, it provides a significant economic impact and a large influx of visitors to the Charleston area, making heightened safety and security of the utmost importance. 

With more than 40,000 runners participating in the 41st Annual Cooper River Bridge Run, the general public may have only recognized an increase in emergency responders along the race route. What they may not have noticed, unless they took a closer look at the waterways under the bridge and the maritime infrastructure of the Charleston Harbor, was a complex network of layered security hard at work.  

As the lead federal agency responsible for maritime safety and security, the Coast Guard integrated a wide variety of resources to meet all hazards and threats head-on. These resources included K9 explosive detections teams, armed boarding officers, a vessel security zone implemented by multiple maritime agencies, dive and EOD teams and a maritime quick reaction force among other measures. 

The Cooper River Bridge Run is an outstanding example of how partnerships allow us to be “Semper Paratus” (Always Ready) through the teamwork and collaboration which exists between the Coast Guard and our friends here in the Lowcounty.