The Dredge Hurley was built in 1993 by Halter Marine in Moss Point, Mississippi for the USACE Memphis District. It was originally built to replace the 1933-built Dredge Burgess and designed to dredge to a maximum depth of 40 feet. Not long after entering service, the need to dredge deeper was realized.
A project to lengthen the dredge and increase its digging depth was authorized in 1997 and concept engineering was completed in 1999. In 2000, portions of the project were funded and completed. New azimuth bow thrusters and a new ladder hoist system were installed. The new A-frame and ladder hoist winch was sized for the eventual planned lengthening of the dredge and ladder.
Extreme high water in 2007 brought the need for a deep digging dredge was re-realized. Soon, the lengthening project was authorized and funded. In 2009, the ladder extension project began at Ensley Engineer Yard in Memphis. The ladder was lengthened by 48 feet to a total length of 108 feet. The vessel hull was also increased by 48 feet from 305 to 353 feet. This increased length allows the dredge Hurley to dredge up to 75 feet deep.