In March 1994 the US Army Corps of Engineers completed development and field testing of the SHOALS which is now in its fifth year of operation. During these five years. SHOALS has proven airborne lidar bathymetrys benefits to the navigation and coastal community. Namely. SHOALS demonstrates the ability to achieve order-of-magnitude increases in survey speed for collection of accurate, densely spaced bathymetric and topographic measurements while remaining cost- competitive with conventional survey methods. Surveying 16 km2 per hour and collecting soundings every 4 m. SHOALS remotely measures water depths using state-of-the-art laser technology. With vertical measurements ranging from adjacent beach and structure topography through depths of 40 m, this unique capability allows rapid, accurate mapping of coastal projects. SHOALS missions have had a variety of purposes. Among these are navigation. shore protection. coastal structure evaluation. nautical charting. and emergency response. This paper presents lidar bathymetry technology by describing the SHOALS system and discussing several projects surveyed to date.