By Jeremy Murray
MOBILE, Ala. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District and Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority held a ceremony to officially welcome a new survey vessel to its fleet in Columbus, Mississippi, April 28, 2023.
The Miss Agnes, a custom 26-foot marine survey vessel is a multibeam and single beam capable vessel that features an enclosed center console, a three-monitor survey station, and an air conditioner unit that is paired with a generator. Powered by twin 200-hp Mercury SeaPro outboards and includes a double jack plate which simultaneously controls both engines when lifting or lowering them within the water.
“Miss Agnes will conduct hydrographic survey analyses along the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.” said Justin Murphree, USACE Operations Project Manager in the Columbus, Mississippi. “This survey vessel is custom built to survey inland waterways and shallow draft operations in the Tenn-Tom.”
Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, also known as the Tenn-Tom, is a 234-mile stretch of waterway that connects the Tennessee River at Pickwick Lake in Tennessee to the Blake Warrior River at Demopolis, AL, the Tenn-Tom has 10 lakes and 10 locks and dams which provide a direct navigable route between the eastern Gulf Coast to the mid-continental U.S. The waterway’s federally authorized purposes are navigation, wildlife mitigation and recreation.
The Miss Agnes is named for the late Mrs. Agnes Goodman Zaiontz, a former office manager for the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority since its opening in 1985. Zaiontz began her time with the authority as local volunteer. Shortly after the waterway’s grand opening, she became a full-time employee where she ultimately served for over 34 years.
Zaiontz was a well-known, beloved, and respected personality at the Tenn-Tom Waterway.
“We are here today to honor the life of the remarkable lady who had such a positive impact on all of us.” said Mitch Mays, Administrator, Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority “Everyone at the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority is grateful for the Corps of Engineers choosing to honor Mrs. Agnes by choosing to name the survey boat, the Miss Agnes.”
Her influence around the Tenn-Tom Waterway community was notable for forming the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Tourism Association, as well as the Alabama-Mississippi-Tennessee Rural Tourism Association, helping to promote tourism in the Waterway’s compact states.
“It brought my family and I happiness when we found out there was a way for my mother to basically live on the river the way she lived and breathed it while she was alive.” said Frank Zaiontz, son of Mrs. Agnes Goodman Zaiontz. “It is a huge honor to see my mother’s name will live on forever.”