Safe navigation in the North Sea calls for accurate nautical charts and adequate maintenance of the waterways to the ports of e.g. Amsterdam and Rotterdam. However, the North Sea is a shallow sea with a highly dynamic seabed, mostly caused by the behavior of bed forms known as tidal sandwaves. Hence, smart surveying and maintenance policies are required. A risk-based approach is the step forward for the responsible authorities. This is the goal of the multidisciplinary project SMARTSEA. In three subprojects, we generate essential new knowledge on (i) the influence of storm events and wind waves on sandwave dynamics, (ii) the feedback among waterway morphodynamics, maintenance operations and the surrounding marine environment, and (iii) the combined interpretation of such knowledge and bathymetric data. Next to these challenges, the project’s overall innovation lies in the step we make towards a probabilistic approach in bathymetric surveying, waterway maintenance and, hence, safe navigation.