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Old 02-16-2017, 06:28 PM   #1
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Tennessee and Tombigbee

Looking for local knowledge to help with a delivery from Chattanooga to Mobile Bay, hopefully starting March 1st.

I've downloaded the USACOE IENC charts covering the Tennessee, the TennTom and the Tombigbee down to Mobile Bay. I can pretty much take it from there.

I'm looking for things like pointers and tips, what to watch out for, any info on lock closures or any unusual procedures for locking through. Also places to avoid and places not to miss.

Generally, anything someone who hasn't been on that waterway, but has been around boats a long time, might need to know.

Thank you!
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:11 PM   #2
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This give the status of all the Corp locks, updated every 15 minutes, including delays. Just pick the river system. (Even though the dams on the Tennessee are TVA's, the locks are operated by the Corp.)

Let me know if you need a hand or local info on the Chattanooga end. We should be around in March.

Have a great trip.

Lock Queue Report
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:22 PM   #3
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Forgot to include lake level info.

https://www.tva.com/Environment/Lake-Levels

TVA starts filling the lakes in the spring. The amount they rise varies (with almost no variation in Nickajack Lake due to the pumped storage project on its banks). Unless there is major rainfall, you'll be traveling at low winter levels. Your charts will be your best guide, but I'd stay in the channel this time of year -- we used to touch bottom now and then while racing our sail boat . . . and I'm supposed to know where many of the shallows and hedgerows are in this neck of the woods.
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:11 PM   #4
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Looking for local knowledge to help with a delivery from Chattanooga to Mobile Bay, hopefully starting March 1st.

I've downloaded the USACOE IENC charts covering the Tennessee, the TennTom and the Tombigbee down to Mobile Bay. I can pretty much take it from there.

I'm looking for things like pointers and tips, what to watch out for, any info on lock closures or any unusual procedures for locking through. Also places to avoid and places not to miss.

Generally, anything someone who hasn't been on that waterway, but has been around boats a long time, might need to know.

Thank you!
What will be your speed ?

And range?
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Old 02-16-2017, 10:25 PM   #5
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The Guntersville free dock puts you within 2 blocks of restaurants.
Joe Wheeler SP is a good stop, nice floating docks and restaurant in the lodge.
Florence Harbor Marina has one of the best restaurants on site and Dock Master on the river.
Columbus Marina is nicely sheltered from the river and close to the lock.
Kingfisher Bay Marina in Demopolis, Al has a first rate marina and laundry.
Bobby's Fish Camp has new docks and great catfish and near the last lock before the bay.
We will be heading North in March and hope to see you along the way.
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Old 02-16-2017, 10:40 PM   #6
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There is plenty of water in the channel; pay attention to your charts. Plan ahead. Main concerns on the Tn would be fuel, water, pumpout and emergency maintenance. Many marinas will be staffed only on weekends until Memorial Day. Cell phone signal may be marginal in rural areas, especially with minor carriers. Monitor #13 for towboats; communicate for instructions to stay out of their way. Be respectful of lockmasters and locking goes more smoothly.
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Old 02-16-2017, 10:48 PM   #7
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Be aware too that if a tow isn't red flag, then if the captain agrees, you may lock through with it, tied to the side of it. Typically, the crew is glad to help with your lines. Always worth politely asking. If it's a red flag, then no one can go through with them.
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Old 02-17-2017, 04:21 AM   #8
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AIS is a tremendous help on that River and the tows use it almost entirely. Downbound favor the bends.
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:52 AM   #9
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Thanks all! I'll be helping deliver a 40' Albin with a 135 Ford Lehman, so I'm guessing 7-8 knots cruising speed, max. Draft is 4'.

That's cool how they list all the individual vessels locking through. I never saw that site, thanks!

I assume "red flag" means hazardous cargo, and it would be flying the Bravo flag.

Angus99, we'll be at least a couple of days in Chattanooga doing some last-minute fitting out. If you're around I'd be glad to buy you dinner, or at least a beer, and pick your brain.
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:56 AM   #10
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Angus99, we'll be at least a couple of days in Chattanooga doing some last-minute fitting out. If you're around I'd be glad to buy you dinner, or at least a beer, and pick your brain.
Absolutely, Tom, although it will be slim pickings. .

PM me when you get close and we'll try to hook up. We're heading to Sarasota for the Defever rendezvous next week, but should be back by the time you get here.
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:27 AM   #11
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Marina hop or anchor out

I've made the Tennessee portion of your delivery several times. Chat to Grand Harbor or Aqua Yacht, start of Tenn-Tom. At your speed, traveling marina to marina and considering potential locking issues. it takes 5 days. I know it sounds like a long time but the following is the plan I used. Day 1 - Chat to Goose Pond, Scottsbro, AL. They are a full service marina. 1 lock. Day 2 - Goose Pond to Ditto Landing, Huntsville, AL. Easy access, self service diesel, good docks. 1 lock Day 3 - Ditto to Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, AL. Great stop with food and fuel. no locks. Day 4 - Wheeler to Florence Harbor. Great place to stop. No service but great fuel prices, car, and food. This is where things can get difficult. There are 2 locks within 15 miles and barge traffic increases considerably to and from Decatur, AL. through these locks. A double cut can take 3 hrs to clear the lock. This 20 mile trip can take 8 hrs. if timing and traffic is wrong. Day 5 - Florence to Yellow Creek. No locks and a nice easy run unless windy. Very open water and shallow out of channel. Early March should have stable water levels but can change over night with spring rains. If water rises watch for debris. Note on locks, going down, not a bad ride but be well fendered as you only have single tie point. Some lock masters will only begin lock prep when you make radio contact AND see you. You can check your charts for land river miles between stops.

My experience your may vary. Have a uneventful trip.
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Old 03-18-2017, 08:00 AM   #12
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I am planning the same trip but in reverse order. If I get an weather alert of on coming bad weather how do I tell what county I am in. I found a state map of all counties in Al., Miss., TN. but it does not show the counties the rivers run through. What is best to use in that area Sea Tow or Boat US?
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Old 03-18-2017, 11:02 AM   #13
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I am planning the same trip but in reverse order. If I get an weather alert of on coming bad weather how do I tell what county I am in. I found a state map of all counties in Al., Miss., TN. but it does not show the counties the rivers run through. What is best to use in that area Sea Tow or Boat US?
Google "County Chattanooga, TN" or whatever the name of the nearest town is.

Boat US. They have coverage along the TN River. To my knowledge, neither has coverage on the TN Tom.
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Old 03-18-2017, 12:02 PM   #14
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I am planning the same trip but in reverse order. If I get an weather alert of on coming bad weather how do I tell what county I am in. I found a state map of all counties in Al., Miss., TN. but it does not show the counties the rivers run through. What is best to use in that area Sea Tow or Boat US?

I do not know which navigation method you are using but the actual USACE navigation chart booklet for the tenn tom does indeed show the counties that the waterway is passing through.
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Old 03-18-2017, 06:31 PM   #15
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Thanks all! I'll be helping deliver a 40' Albin with a 135 Ford Lehman, so I'm guessing 7-8 knots cruising speed, max. Draft is 4'.

That's cool how they list all the individual vessels locking through. I never saw that site, thanks!

I assume "red flag" means hazardous cargo, and it would be flying the Bravo flag.

Angus99, we'll be at least a couple of days in Chattanooga doing some last-minute fitting out. If you're around I'd be glad to buy you dinner, or at least a beer, and pick your brain.
You might want to PM psneld . He has the same boat. I think 8 kts is optimistic. Then again you are going downstream.
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Old 03-18-2017, 07:14 PM   #16
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Google "County Chattanooga, TN" or whatever the name of the nearest town is.
That would be Hamilton County the OP can scratch off the list.
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Old 03-18-2017, 07:56 PM   #17
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That would be Hamilton County the OP can scratch off the list.
I'm sure he will appreciate that.
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Old 03-18-2017, 08:00 PM   #18
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At 1700 RPM my 40 does between 6.3 and 6.5 knots with a 120.

When I first bought the boat, I did cruise much faster, probably up over 7 knots but was gulping fuel.

Hard to say, but if you didn't care about the fuel bill...pushing along at 7 knots shouldn't be a big deal.

8 might be pretty close to the pin and you will be throwing a pretty good wake.

My 1988 40 Albin only has a 34 foot or so waterline so the math on hull speed doesn't make her a speedster.
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Old 03-19-2017, 06:28 AM   #19
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Yup, we're doing somewhere just under 7 knots STW at 1500 RPM. The current helped a lot in the rivers. Down in FL now, crossed the bend with great weather and just jumped back into the ICW heading for Ft. Myers, then the Okachobee.
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Old 03-19-2017, 06:58 AM   #20
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I'm sure he will appreciate that.
One down, 50 or 60 to go.
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