The coastal town of Port Royal is located between Battery Creek and the Beaufort River in Beaufort County. A small, historic community, it is known for its quiet lifestyle, its beautiful trails and boardwalks, and especially, its trawler fleet.
Port Royal was the site of Spanish and French settlements dating from the 16th century, and it played an important role in both the American Revolution and the Civil War. The Emancipation Proclamation was first read in Port Royal under the Proclamation Tree in 1863.
The shrimp trawlers shown on this page are docked at Battery Creek. Those who make their living by fishing in South Carolina’s waters stay closely attuned to yearly variations in conditions, and they work long days to maximize their catches. Starting and ending dates for the three shrimp seasons in South Carolina are determined each year by the state’s Department of Natural Resources.
Roe season comes in the spring – May or June – and begins when DNR determines an adequate number of eggs have spawned. June through August is the time for catching brown shrimp. White shrimp – the offspring of the spring spawn – come next. This long season generally peaks between September and October, and it lasts until December or January, when the water temperature finally drops to the mid-40s.
Port Royal is one of South Carolina’s last remaining maritime villages. South Carolina shrimpers, while struggling to pay high gasoline prices and compete with cheap, foreign shrimp, still persevere along the shores of Battery Creek. The Warrior, pictured below, is aptly named, since most Lowcountry shrimpers must fight an uphill battle in order to continue their way of life.
Port Royal gained international fame when the hurricane scene from the movie Forrest Gump was filmed near these docks. The Lowcountry Estuarium, a festival honoring soft shell crabs, is celebrated here each year in a long-standing tradition.
More Pictures of Battery Creek
Reflections on Battery Creek
Photographer Lamar Nix says, “Today diverse nautical vessels pass by, from sleek sailing ships to working shrimp trawlers. The Port Royal docks are an especially alluring nautical landmark that is rich with visual treasures, both nautical and avian.”
Cecilia Foster Morett, who shared this photo of Warrior, shares these thoughts and experiences: “I grew up in Port Royal and had an uncle who shrimped from there. I’ve always loved the beauty of the boats. We were in the area in October , and I stopped by the docks for a look. Warrior was there, her name and appearance summarizing the shrimping industry, fighting to make a living and scarred in the process.
“My ‘day job’ is bookkeeping, but I work as a striker on shrimp boats in my area for fun. No pay except the sheer enjoyment that the seven years has given me. I’ll be 60 years old this year and plan to keep going as long as the guys will take me!”
Kathy Dickerson says of her photo: “The picture was take in August of 2016 from the deck at the Dockside Seafood Restaurant. The marina is right behind the restaurant. We went to old dockside not knowing it had burned down. So we went back into town to the other Dockside right past the bridge, and the sky was just beautiful that afternoon.”