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Old 04-16-2017, 03:56 PM   #21
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Too be sure. VHF, radar, and chartplotter with AIS and AC all in use all the time plus probably a lot of following the guy ahead!
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Old 04-16-2017, 05:21 PM   #22
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It is a big river there are very few places where you can not meet and/or pass safely. Don't cross too closely in front of the tows especially if they are pushing empties. Their sight line may be limited. Remember that the current is effecting both of you so even if it may appear that they may be pointing at you they may indeed be sliding and falling away from your position. Expect a "washboard" type wheel wash behind them for sometimes as much as a half mile.
They are all professionals and will treat you with the same professional attitude that you would expect. Feel free to ask them, they will be your best source of information, on river conditions or safe places to tie-off or anchor. Not withstanding Active Captain or Waterways Guide, these individuals often travel over the same section of the river three or four times during their days on the boat and note many conditions and changes that are never mentioned in other forms of information.
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Old 04-16-2017, 05:37 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulysses View Post
They are all professionals and will treat you with the same professional attitude that you would expect. Feel free to ask them, they will be your best source of information, on river conditions or safe places to tie-off or anchor. Not withstanding Active Captain or Waterways Guide, these individuals often travel over the same section of the river three or four times during their days on the boat and note many conditions and changes that are never mentioned in other forms of information.
We found them to be professional and helpful as well. They would advise us as to a good place to pass them if we approached from behind. We also locked through tied to a couple. That's especially helpful on the TN river where they may require more than one locking to get their barges all through.
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Old 04-16-2017, 05:53 PM   #24
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I have experienced the good attitude you both speak of. One time while stuck below an inoperable lock, we were hailed from a workboat off the tow pushed up on a nearby sandbar and invited to a bonfire dinner. And skippers never fail to respond to calls. Tow skippers want things to go smoothly - I just wish I could always understand some of their marble-mouthed transmissions. I am a deep sea sailor with a now-lapsed USCG unlimited tonnage license, and I have listened to the King's English slaughtered all over the world by foreigners on the radio, but nothing beats the occasional garble heard on our our waterways. I am sure the other tow skippers catch the gist of what the fellow is saying but some of the rest of use who are in waters new to us miss the landmarks they use for reference. Mile markers seem to be seldom spoken of in my experience.
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Old 04-16-2017, 06:12 PM   #25
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Good point on the communications. If you have a good river chart look at the names of the lights not the mile markers. They will typically report their positions based on the light name.
To become a licensed first class unlimited ton pilot it was necessary that I draw the river and label each light by its name along with a few other things but at any rate you will find they expect you to say what light you are and not the mile marker. This is true on all the rivers you will be on.
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:45 AM   #26
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Mississippi passage

Its been a few years now since Classy Lady (my Alaskan 46) and I traveled the "big miss" & working with the tow boat captains still brings fond memories! A great bunch of guy, always willing to help & discuss situations on the rivers. One boat I remember was Sugarland" --had several pleasant conversations! God Bless you all!
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Old 05-11-2017, 09:17 AM   #27
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I too have had perfectly fine experiences with the tow skippers, IF I can understand their garble. We are closely watching the Cape Girardeau gage levels and see that it has finally crested at over 45 feet. We plan to leave Orange Beach, AL on the 29th of May and head up the Tombigbee Waterway to be in position by mid-June to run up the Mississippi to Grafton as/if the Cape G levels go below 20 feet.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:35 PM   #28
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Hi Rich, I hope you will keep us posted about the trip on here. I think I'd like to do the Tenn-Tom when we get back into cruising again.
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Old 05-12-2017, 08:17 PM   #29
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Hey, Steve. Long time no hear. The TTom is simple enough. I described our 2006 trip in my www.cruisinthrough.blogspot.com if you never looked at it before.
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