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Old 01-03-2015, 11:46 AM   #1
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Locking through locks

We have a 2007 aft silverton 43' over all,,,, about to leave on the loop Feb 28 from Biloxi there is no cat walk to mention but we have wondered about tying our lines inside the locks from near flybridge anyone ever had to do this or from a boat like ours??
Thanks Reg
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Old 01-03-2015, 12:09 PM   #2
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Yes ... done it often, no problem but never, never, ever actually tie it.
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Old 01-03-2015, 12:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by regb View Post
We have a 2007 aft silverton 43' over all,,,, about to leave on the loop Feb 28 from Biloxi there is no cat walk to mention but we have wondered about tying our lines inside the locks from near flybridge anyone ever had to do this or from a boat like ours??
Thanks Reg
On locks with a big drop/lift there will usually be a floating bollard in the wall. It will be too low to catch from the flying bridge. We usually catch them from the deck, and loop to the center cleat. Easy peasy.
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Old 01-03-2015, 12:24 PM   #4
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Most locks will have a few lines , but hanging on sucks as sometimes its a 30+ ft lift or lower and its hard to hold the boat near the wall, or from moving fwd or aft.

The best way to do a lock with almost no effort is to ride the pig.AKA floating bollard.

For barge traffic there are heavy pipes with floats (the pig) that run up and down.

You MUST have a midships cleat (over sized is nice ours is 15 inches) and a piece of line.

Simply stop abeam the pig , pass a line thru one of the pig tie rings and lead it aboard back to the midship cleat.You will be all tied up before the lock doors can close

With a couple of large fenders the rise or lower is effortless as you are fast against the wall.

Old big fenders are easier to watch be dragged up the usually concrete lock walls , and remember you must shut down in most locks , be sure the starter is OK and the start batts in good shape.

Its great fun , zero effort , as long as you can stop in the correct place for your crew to tie on.

NEVER tie up to the pig , just pass a line thru an eye or around its cleat . Should it stick , you can see the problem , which is no problem if you casn simply release your tie line.

No midship cleat ? install it , or be prepared to hang on long ropes with little hope of controlling your boat.
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Old 01-03-2015, 12:48 PM   #5
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not sure why my profile pic is not showing up on this post as I just changed it. It does show up on my profile so you can see my dilemma from the pic
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Old 01-03-2015, 01:08 PM   #6
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Having done locks throughout NA one thing is certain, there is no one way. There are many and they are lock and system oriented. The lockmaster will give you specific and workable instructions and guidance to cover the oddities each lock and position in it presents. No harm though in having PFDs on, fenders out and plenty various length lines available.

The various guide books will have the information you need, but some lockmasters have a certain way ------
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:06 PM   #7
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Don't over analyze this. Large fenders are more important than anything else. There are many ways to rig your lines. I'm usually solo without side decks and the mid ship cleat doesn't work for me. Usually use a bow and stern line or a line from the bow to the pig to the stern. The object is to stay roughly in place, not pin the boat to the wall.

Ted
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:17 PM   #8
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As Sunchaser just said, there isn't one way and not all locks use the same system. I have seen locks with:

No lines, wire rope or bollard. You pass a line up to the lockmaster who loops it around a bollard on top. You pay out or pull in your line as you go up or down.

Hanging wire rope or pipe attached top and bottom that you pass a line through.

Hanging rope that you grab on to

Floating bollard that you grab and hook a line to.

But in general you need to be able to tie up fore and aft. Otherwise your bow or stern will kick out when the water flows in or out. That means with your lack of side decks someone will have to go forward and catch the first line, or whatever. Then the skipper (assuming single handed) will have to go aft and catch an aft line. Then you pull in or feed out as you go up or down.

It will be a little tougher but doable with no side decks.

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Old 01-03-2015, 03:00 PM   #9
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My experience of over 200 locks is that you'll have more trouble due to the aft cabin designthan other styles. But you'll manage just fine after the first few locks.
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Old 01-03-2015, 05:08 PM   #10
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If you have access to a mid-ship cleat through a side door it's relatively easy to do with one line from that cleat to the bollard. Put large ball fenders ahead of and aft of the bollard and make the line as short as possible.

Contrary to what OC Diver said....
"The object is to stay roughly in place, not pin the boat to the wall. "
we try to get the boat as tightly against the wall as possible. With it tight to the wall there is less tendency for the water to push your boat fore or aft. That means you won't have to be fending your bow or stern off the wall.

But like has been said, it all depends on the setup of the lock you're passing through.

Here's the bollard style used in the locks on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. To the left and right of that large steel 'can' are the wheels that run up and down in tracks as the water level changes.


This is the lock we pass through most often. Its average lift is 105' and I've been told it's the second highest lift lock in the country. The highest I've seen the lift was 118'.


Here we are in McNary Lock and it's a good reason why we want that line as short as possible.

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Old 01-03-2015, 05:37 PM   #11
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"Simply stop abeam the pig , pass a line thru one of the pig tie rings and lead it aboard back to the midship cleat"

That's fine advice if you get to choose, but up here on the upper Mississippi River we often don't - especially on weekends. The lockmaster directs you where they want you, and they generally don't have time or interest in a discussion about it. They want to get us pests through so they can get back to the real work of moving barges and tows.

We'll sometimes request forward and aft lines but if we're locking up it's often too hard for them to hear. We'll take the single midship line and wrap a half turn on for leverage.
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Old 01-03-2015, 06:03 PM   #12
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To clear up a misunderstanding. If you take a single line from the bow once around the pig and back snug on the stern cleat, it's not necessary to pin yourself to the wall. the line acts as a fore and aft spring keeping the boat from moving fore and aft. Propper placement of fender balls keeps the bow and stern off the wall.

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Old 01-03-2015, 07:15 PM   #13
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Erie Canal

Haven't done the Miss or Tentom. But the Erie Canal is older, smaller and (sad to say) more chewed up around the edges. From MY experience the Erie will be about 30 locks rising (westbound) and 4 dropping. The ones you rise in will end up BELOW your Gunnel. So the flybridge idea won't work. You will be WAY too high to be able to keep the boat some what tight against the wall. In retrospect, it will work, but only until you are above the lock wall. Then you will lose the leverage to hold you in against the wall. By then it will be too cumbersome to re rig another line. In the Erie most of the locks have a combination of wires, and free hanging lines to use. Some have a top to bottom pipe to slide a line around, and 'slip' up and down. BUT as you rise up the line will be going DOWN over the side a foot (maybe more) depending on your freeboard. If you make it fast on your boat it will jam up. You will see the plastic coated cables and 3" (or so) pipes you can use to put a two part line around and slide up or down. BUT, these cables and pipes end below the top of the wall. And some will jam your riding line fast. And quick too.

Since you will be going UP in the Erie Canal mostly the lines will be getting slack. so you will have to actually handle them (keeping them taut) If there is no other traffic in the lock or few, the lock masters won't care if you move up, down or sideways (much) But, if there's a filled lock they wont want you to move at all. Depends on time and weekend. The problem with the lines is they all end on the edge of the locks. so as you go above the lock wall they start leading down. So you can never absolutely just tie them off. The good news, it only takes 10 minutes (or so) to transit a lock.

One issue in the Erie. Some of the lock walls are in terrible shape. With deep depressions, eroded concrete, and steel pins sticking out. You will need two large polyballs for FWD and AFT fenders. Especially if you have a lot of overhang (flare of the bow) Stern not so much on your boat. My normal fenders a couple of times actually did not hold me off, when the fenders went into one of the eroded depressions.

The other thing to remember to do, after the lock rinse off the fenders. The accumulated cement debris, and growth sticks to the fenders. Then the next lock as you 'roll' into the lock the cement, growth gets mashed into the topsides. At least rinse them off every other lock.
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:32 PM   #14
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Good stuff. Keep it coming please, as we are doing the Erie, Oswego, Rideau, St. Lawrence, Chambly and Champlain locks next season.
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:38 PM   #15
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Good stuff. Keep it coming please, as we are doing the Erie, Oswego, Rideau, St. Lawrence, Chambly and Champlain locks next season.
This might help "Cruising the NY State Canal System"
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:08 PM   #16
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Yes, locks are different with different styles of securing your boat. Often the distance between tie spots are 50 feet or more. One point of advice contrary to the pics previously posted is to secure your line with the working end on your boat. Even with floating pins on the lock. I have seen logs and/or debris jam the floating mechanism and they will not float as designed- a recipe for disaster if you can't get to it to feed it out or take it in. Best to loop it around the bollard or pin and bring it back to work from your boat. Also as required always wear PFD in lock.
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:47 PM   #17
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When we ran from Lake Ontario to the Hudson we fixed large double eye fenders toward the ends of a 12' 2X8, then fixed lines at fore and aft cleats to the ends of the 2X8 and we had an indestructible but forgiving 'permanent' fender system for locking through the ~80 locks. I don't have a simple solution for having to hang on to the slimy lines they dangle down the lock walls to keep you in place - we needed a body at both the bow and stern for that task.
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:16 PM   #18
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After doing a ton of locks well over a hundred in the past 14 months doing the Great Loop as well as another run from TN back down to FL there are several things we have learned, some are common knowledge some are not.

The photos someone posted above showed a boat mid ship cleated to a floating bollard - never cleat like this there are too many bollards that will jam and I have observed other boats damaged where a knife was not present for owners to cut their line free and boats have received serious damage. A better idea would be to have just looped the line around the cleat on the bollard and bring it back to the boat and wrap once around your boat cleat. You feed it out or bring it in as needed, without the chance of damage being done to your boat, similar to braking while absailing

One of our biggest lock issues came when an impatient lock operator on the Caloosahatchee River asked how things were going when we were locking up and I said "fine" that gave him reason to open the in gate more which caused so much turbulence that we were pulled off the lock wall, it took all of my boat handling skills and luck to keep my boat from bouncing off both lock walls and other boats in the lock with so much water coming in. Lesson learned even when drop lines are used run them through the hawse and wrap them so one can have a mechanical advantage as opposed to just holding on.

As others have also said use big fenders we have two very large inflatable fenders used especially for locking they worked awesome.

No offense to other posters intended.

Thanks
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:37 PM   #19
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No offense taking by me, it was the same point I was making. Not just in looks, it is a good line handling practice to work the line from the vessel if you are on the vessel. That way you can always be in position to retrieve or let out as may be necessary and you are not trying to lean over the water to undue something.
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Old 01-04-2015, 06:00 AM   #20
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