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Old 04-18-2013, 03:10 PM   #1
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Anyone going to TN from the keys soon

I stayed in spring city Tn a couple of years ago and fell in love with the river. At that time I had a 26 ft cruiser. Now I'm on my Bayliner. I came down to marathon from Va. I'm trying to make up my mind where to go next. I can go back to Va. And work as a dock master and get free dockage with access to a lift and a little fuel for payment. But the fresh water of Tn has a real draw to it. And when I saw the picture on trawlers homepage, wow the river and mountains with the fresh water to swim and keep the boat clean. I believe where I stayed was Terrace view. I'm thinking of heading up that way. I'm a little unsure about doing it as I don't have a crew, I'm crewless..
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Old 04-18-2013, 04:20 PM   #2
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Hi David!
The TN River is indeed a beautiful place to cruise. We keep our boat(s) down stream from Terrace View- down in the Chattanooga area at Island Cove. Moonstruck here on the forums lives in Chatt as well. Free dockage, fuel, etc. for payment sounds nice to me but I agree- there is something very nice about the TN River. Watts Bar lake where Terrace View is at is a great section of the river. FYI Terrace View just recently sold so they have new owners with plans for lots of improvements. We just sold a nice classic 46 Chris Craft in that marina- great views from the docks.
Going from keys to TN River would be a great trip!!
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:45 PM   #3
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I was looking at a 37 Bayliner the owners bought a bigger boat and were staying there. Do you think I'd be ok crewless going up that way threw the locks. I'm some what experienced in them. I was thinking with the floating thingies it shouldn't be to bad. But not sure how the gate keepers would react.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:49 PM   #4
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Any other marinas you'd recommend like Terrace view but maybe near Chattanooga it would be nice to be not to far from an airport. And maybe a retirement job like a greeter or Home Depot. I'd like to get a covered slip. They were cheap at terrace view. Nice pool and restaurant to.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:54 PM   #5
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I was looking at a 37 Bayliner the owners bought a bigger boat and were staying there. Do you think I'd be ok crewless going up that way threw the locks. I'm some what experienced in them. I was thinking with the floating thingies it shouldn't be to bad. But not sure how the gate keepers would react.
I'm from Chattanooga, too, and second Woodsong's description. The lakes are especially beautiful in the summer when TVA keeps the water levels up. I took our 28' sailboat through Chickamauga lock a couple times by myself using the floating bollards and the lockmaster never challenged me. However, if you try it alone I'd strongly suggest large fenders and a strong boathook to fend off the wall. My boat had a 5.5 foot fixed keel and the currents in the lock pitched me around quite a bit. Someone with a trawler can probably tell you how your hull would respond.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:12 PM   #6
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I think those lock masters have a lot of control over the current. They can pin you against the wall or throw you around. I may have to shop around home for crew.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:14 PM   #7
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Do they make you shut off your engines. That would help if I could keep um up.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:27 PM   #8
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David,
your challenge single handing through the locks is going to be getting from the helm to the floating bollards to tie off on the wall. On a calm day...no worries. On a crazy windy day it can be fun. I can single hand my 36 Monk through the locks all day long without issue. Same with my bayliner 4550. I always go through the locks piloting from my lower helm. But- both my Monk and my 45 have doors right at the lower helm. This makes it very easy to tie off on the wall...drive in, pull up, take 1-2 steps to the left or right and tie off and I'm done. I preset fenders on both port and starboard sides in case when I get in there weather or water conditions dictate tying off on a side I was not initially planning on tying off on. So- preplanning and being prepared with lines on both port and starboard go a long way to making sure things are smooth. Your challenge will be running from flybridge helm to your midships cleat to tie off on the wall. It can be done but it is certainly easier to do it from a lower helm with a door next to the helm which, while your 4387 is a nice cruising aft cabin, does not have the lower door. You can do it though...just set out lots of fenders. If you are not overly mobile and quick you may want to consider trying to find someone to go with you for parts of the trip to help with the locks. Doing so will make things easier and more fun but a lot of it depends also again on how mobile and agile you are and if you can safely and quickly get from flybridge to midships cleate.
Terrace View is pretty remote. I would consider Blue Springs Marina which is nearby but a little closer to services. Also, if looking for proximity to airport and jobs, something near chattanooga would probably be a better option. Island Cove Marina on Lake Chickamauga where we are based out of would be a good option...restaurant and pool on site, covered slips, good anchorages nearby, etc.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:45 PM   #9
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I'm only 56 and I can jump down ok. And I've had to use the side window a couple of times to pull anchor. I don't have a remote yet its on my list after a new fridge and auto pilot.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:45 PM   #10
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Do they make you shut off your engines. That would help if I could keep um up.
I've never seen a lockmaster require that, but they do call the shots in their locks. Most people power down to save fuel or maybe because a lot of boats in a deep lock at the same time can really foul the air.

Here's what locking through on a small boat looks like, including the floating bollard.



You can actually Google the Army Corp of Engineers, call the lockmasters up and find out what to expect. Good luck!
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:55 PM   #11
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Woodsong

Are you familiar with earl the Hino guru..
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:00 PM   #12
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That's a great idea about calling ahead..
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:12 AM   #13
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You have gotten some good pointers here. A couple of things to add. Have a very sharp knife handy incase the floating bollard gets hung. A lot of damage can be done if you can't release quickly. Tell the lockmaster that you are single handing. He has discretion as to what kind of ride he gives you up or down. Also, be sure to check the wind inside the lock. The wind can swirl in there, and push you off the wall. I haven't been through there for awhile, but the did monitor channel 14. Use it. A good lockmaster will work with you.

You probably know that farther down stream at Wilson and Wheeler dams the lift/drop is about 90'. You can feel pretty alone in that hole with a rectangular sky.
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:45 AM   #14
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David-
Yes I know Earl- had him checking out my hino's last spring and he is going to be up again on my boat for some pre-season work here in the next week or two. He knows his stuff!

Don...I used to carry a sharp knife but have landed on a slightly adapted way to tie off. I basically just go from midships cleat to around the bollard and then loop back to my midships cleat, warp it once around the cleat and then usually hold the end of the line in my hand. I figure if the bollard gets stuck it's not too easy to cut through 3/4" line quickly so if I ever have a pin get stuck I can just play out more line and/or undo the line. But...it does require me standing there @ the pin.
As far as shutting down engines...I personally don't do that. Gas boats often/sometimes will just b/c of the CO concerns. With diesels I don't worry about that and I have had a situation or two where having engines already powered up was a good thing. Not happened to me but I've seen a few people not paying attention and have their lines come off the bollard and then floating loose in the locks. Having engines on entire time keeps you prepared should you need them. So my vote is if you are diesel powered, keep the engines on. If gas, I'd probably turn them off on the TN River locks due to the depth of the locks. As Don mentioned Wheeler in over a 90' drop, Chickamauga Lock is like 50-60 or something.
Winds are definitely something you will want to watch. This is why I always recommend people have fenders down on both sides b/c you just don't know how things are until you are well into the chamber. You don't want to be in the middle of the chamber and have to be moving fenders around at the last second, especially if other boats in the chamber too. A couple of weeks ago we were going upbound through Chickamauga lock so we were locking up. Winds were a steady 20 mph going from my starboard to port. Common sense would say that the wind will just push us easily to the port side for a quick and easy tie off. Ha! Got in there and I'll be darned if the winds weren't bouncing around so much inside that deep chamber that the winds were pushing us hard to the starboard side. Being prepared to go to either side will make your locking experience as stress free as possible.
Angus is correct too- you can call ahead and talk direct to the lockmaster. They monitor vhf channel 16 and we use that to hail them then they ask us to switch to 14. I learned quite a bit ago if I am planning a trip to call before I leave the dock to see if they know of any tows or commercial traffic or any other anticipated delays for the lock. They usually have a good idea of the commercial traffic schedules and can often give you a good idea of how busy their day will be. Several times making that call in the morning has meant the difference of rushing to get underway only to have to idle in front of a lock for 2-3 hours while a tow goes through and being able to prop my feet back up at the dock and have another cup of coffee and enjoy the morning.
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Old 04-19-2013, 09:00 AM   #15
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David-
Yes I know Earl- had him checking out my hino's last spring and he is going to be up again on my boat for some pre-season work here in the next week or two. He knows his stuff!

Don...I used to carry a sharp knife but have landed on a slightly adapted way to tie off. I basically just go from midships cleat to around the bollard and then loop back to my midships cleat, warp it once around the cleat and then usually hold the end of the line in my hand. I figure if the bollard gets stuck it's not too easy to cut through 3/4" line quickly so if I ever have a pin get stuck I can just play out more line and/or undo the line. But...it does require me standing there @ the pin.
As far as shutting down engines...I personally don't do that. Gas boats often/sometimes will just b/c of the CO concerns. With diesels I don't worry about that and I have had a situation or two where having engines already powered up was a good thing. Not happened to me but I've seen a few people not paying attention and have their lines come off the bollard and then floating loose in the locks. Having engines on entire time keeps you prepared should you need them. So my vote is if you are diesel powered, keep the engines on. If gas, I'd probably turn them off on the TN River locks due to the depth of the locks. As Don mentioned Wheeler in over a 90' drop, Chickamauga Lock is like 50-60 or something.
Winds are definitely something you will want to watch. This is why I always recommend people have fenders down on both sides b/c you just don't know how things are until you are well into the chamber. You don't want to be in the middle of the chamber and have to be moving fenders around at the last second, especially if other boats in the chamber too. A couple of weeks ago we were going upbound through Chickamauga lock so we were locking up. Winds were a steady 20 mph going from my starboard to port. Common sense would say that the wind will just push us easily to the port side for a quick and easy tie off. Ha! Got in there and I'll be darned if the winds weren't bouncing around so much inside that deep chamber that the winds were pushing us hard to the starboard side. Being prepared to go to either side will make your locking experience as stress free as possible.
Angus is correct too- you can call ahead and talk direct to the lockmaster. They monitor vhf channel 16 and we use that to hail them then they ask us to switch to 14. I learned quite a bit ago if I am planning a trip to call before I leave the dock to see if they know of any tows or commercial traffic or any other anticipated delays for the lock. They usually have a good idea of the commercial traffic schedules and can often give you a good idea of how busy their day will be. Several times making that call in the morning has meant the difference of rushing to get underway only to have to idle in front of a lock for 2-3 hours while a tow goes through and being able to prop my feet back up at the dock and have another cup of coffee and enjoy the morning.
Don

I introduced Daddyo to earl Small world. He came down to work n a boat with Jolene and I took them out fishing. I like earl he rode acrossed the ditch from Stuart to ft. Myerswith me. Great Hino man.
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Old 04-19-2013, 09:08 AM   #16
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Don

I introduced Daddyo to earl Small world. He came down to work n a boat with Jolene and I took them out fishing. I like earl he rode acrossed the ditch from Stuart to ft. Myerswith me. Great Hino man.
Sorry I messed up the name. I was talking to woodsong
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Old 04-19-2013, 09:33 AM   #17
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I think the lift at normal pool on Chickamauga is 48' and Watts Bar 60'. It's the locks down stream that give the willys. Pickwick is about 100'. That is a deep hole.

The river system is great boating. The best thing is at the end of the day throw a bar of ivory soap into the water, and dive in for a lake bath. A nice swim and a bath too. Never having to rinse salt off the boat is not bad either.
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