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Old 03-15-2018, 06:50 PM   #1
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I'm glad I checked..........

We had our plans all set, fuel bought, groceries picked up and everything a GO for taking the boat down the Columbia to Portland on Saturday morning to have a complete new bimini made. New top, new isenglass, new Stamoid. The whole works.

Arrangements were made with Tyee Yacht Club in Portland to let me keep the boat there on kind of an "extended reciprocal moorage" arrangement for about 2-3 weeks to give the guy in Portland time to do the whole job.
It appeared everything was a GO and the stars had all lined up to allow it to happen.

Then I got my newest "Local Notice to Mariners" in my inbox from my friends at the USCG. I started to skim through it and was stopped dead in my tracks by this:
"COLUMBIA RIVER AND SNAKE RIVER Change to the Seasonal Navigation Lock Outage for the Columbia and Snake Rivers
(Revised from LNM 01/18)
The extended lock closure for Lower Monumental Lock and Ice Harbor Lock has been extended until 2359 on 25 Mar 18. The specific dates and
times for the individual locks has been updated and is listed below:
Bonneville Navigation Lock commencing 0600 on 03 Mar 18 through 2359 on 18 Mar 18 (2 weeks)
The Dalles Navigation Lock commencing 0600 on 03 Mar 18 through 2359 on 25 Mar 18 (3 weeks)
John Day Navigation Lock commencing 0600 on 03 Mar 18 through 2359 on 25 Mar 18 (3 weeks)
McNary Lock Navigation Lock commencing 0600 on 03 Mar 18 through 2359 on 18 Mar 18 (2 weeks)

Was I reading this right? Were all the locks closed? Can this possibly be? A flurry of phone calls to the Operations Offices at McNary and The Dalles locks confirmed it. We were dead in the water.

But look at the bright side.....at least we didn't cruise on down there only to find out they were closed.

Damn that Murphy and his Law!
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:04 PM   #2
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Good seamanship on your part.

Always amazes me when people don't read the LNMs, and ar best rely on forums and crowd sharing sites for info, if anything.
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:31 PM   #3
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Good seamanship on your part.

Always amazes me when people don't read the LNMs, and ar best rely on forums and crowd sharing sites for info, if anything.
I agree, good job staying current on the notices. I don't unless I am going to an area that may have issues, (such as the Swinomish Channel).
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:47 PM   #4
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Wow - 2-3 weeks is a major closure.
What type of maintenance are they doing to the locks?

I won't complain about our local lock being closed for 8 hours today.
We get an email and phone text to notify us about planned lock closures, so usually there are no surprises.
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Old 03-15-2018, 10:52 PM   #5
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Good job. My corrallary to Murphy's Law: Murphy was an optimist.
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Old 03-15-2018, 11:33 PM   #6
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Murphy was an optimist.
You're spot on with that.

The funny thing about the LNM's...I don't usually read them unless I'm headed out of town on the boat. I read through this issue only because we're headed out. I'm sure glad I did or we'd have done a ~74 mile round trip for no real reason. Well, except that we would have spent a nice day on the water.

The maintenance they're doing on each of the 8 locks on the river system varies from lock to lock. Since all the long distance river traffic would stop if they shut down just one lock, they shut them all down at the same time and for the same period so they can get all their maintenance done during this time period. They let everyone know (newspapers, etc.) well ahead of time so plans can be made around the outages.

Since there is no commercial barge traffic when they shut the locks down, when they get them all back up and running again there is a HUGE amount of barge traffic. Commercial traffic takes precedence over recreational vessels but on occasion we have been allowed to go through the lock with a commercial vessel. It's with permission of the skipper of the tug and with the approval of the lockmaster.
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Old 03-16-2018, 12:44 AM   #7
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Thanks for the Info Mike.
So are you gonna make the trip down a bit later? We plan to be back in Portland the first week of April, provided we can finish everything here in Vegas.

Cheers
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Old 03-16-2018, 08:27 AM   #8
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"lock through with commercial vessel"

I was never a fan of putting a plastic boat in a lock with a tow.
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Old 03-16-2018, 08:30 AM   #9
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GFC, would you post the link to the USCG notification page? Looked, it didn't catch my eye. Thanks.
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Old 03-16-2018, 09:43 AM   #10
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I saw the LNM too. I receive it via email too.
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Old 03-16-2018, 09:47 AM   #11
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GFC, would you post the link to the USCG notification page? Looked, it didn't catch my eye. Thanks.
We are District 13. Sign up for email notices:

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lnmMain
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Old 03-16-2018, 10:43 AM   #12
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"lock through with commercial vessel"

I was never a fan of putting a plastic boat in a lock with a tow.
Smoothest locking I've had. It's like being side tied to a floating dock. Always found the crew on the tow to be most helpful and courteous too. Found on the TN and the Tenn Tom, that as long as the tows aren't red flagged, pretty much all of them are happy to let you raft through with them.
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Old 03-16-2018, 04:08 PM   #13
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"lock through with commercial vessel"

I was never a fan of putting a plastic boat in a lock with a tow.
I guess I'm wondering why you would be reluctant to go in with a tug and barges. They go in first and get secured then we pull in alongside them. If they are pushing a single wide load we pull in alongside them and when it's time to leave, we go out first. If they have a double wide (2 barges side by side) load we go in after them and they leave the lock first.

The times we've locked through with double wide loads they have been extremely careful when they leave not to create a big prop wash.

Unlike BandB's experiences, we don't raft up to the tug or barges. We tie to the bollards so were separate from them.

I'd just as soon be in the lock with a professional skipper behind the helm of the tug than be in with some of the recreational boat skippers I've seen.
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Old 03-16-2018, 04:37 PM   #14
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When we were in Panama, I went through the Canal 4 times. The Canal tells you how it's going to go and it may change lock to lock. We side tied to a tug and a tour boat, centered locked, tied to the wall and shared the lock with a big guy. Going up you follow if your sharing a lock with a big boat, going down you lead. Side tying is the easiest with no lines other than the boat you're rafted to.
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Old 03-16-2018, 04:40 PM   #15
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Old 03-16-2018, 05:41 PM   #16
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Unlike BandB's experiences, we don't raft up to the tug or barges. We tie to the bollards so were separate from them.

I'd just as soon be in the lock with a professional skipper behind the helm of the tug than be in with some of the recreational boat skippers I've seen.
I've done it both ways. The locks on the Tenn Tom are only 600' x 110' so a tow with 8 barges really fills the length up. Although some of the locks on the TN River are larger, that just allows the tows to take more barges per trip. I've gone in behind a tow but primarily when they had no barges or just a couple.
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Old 03-16-2018, 07:11 PM   #17
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We are District 13. Sign up for email notices:

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lnmMain
Thanks Tom, I did. Still don't know if I did it right - go figure I assume you & Kate are there for the green beer!
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Old 03-16-2018, 07:13 PM   #18
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One more
Amigo that's just too cool
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Old 03-16-2018, 07:21 PM   #19
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Hey Mike, sorry you could not make it down this week. We are having a Mexican Fiesta night at Tyee on Saturday 3/24 after our work party if you can make it by then. 🍺
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Old 03-16-2018, 08:18 PM   #20
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Pan-max boats, like many cruise ships, leave no space for other boats in the same lock.

Wondering how things have worked out for the large, new locks.
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