Useful terms and phrases for the loop

This post is a work in progress.      If you are a future boater or casual reader, here are some of the terms we learned so far.

I thought sailing had its own set of terminology; well the river traffic has its own language too!   refer back to this list as I will be adding to it:

Easy reference for starters:

AGLCA   Americas Great Loop Cruising Association

GLCC  Great Lakes Cruising Association

Starboard-  right side of the boat

Port- Left side of the boat

Easy so far… lets continue:

Down bound-    Heading down river

PC or Pleasure Craft  –    those of us who are not commercial boats

Towboats- (they are not called tugboats or pushers) , commercial boats moving the barge

AIS   – system for identifying boats on our chart plotter

Vhf 13-  channel monitored by  bridge tenders

VHF 14 -channel monitored by commercial captains for barge traffic (always ask permission/ instructions for passing)

VHF 16 general channel

VH68- standby channel for conversations

Passing on the Whistle:

One whistle/ 2 whistle    instructions for passing the barge – one whistle pass to starboard/ right; two whistle pass to port/left.  The Pleasure craft calls the towboat to request permission to pass, or advise on which side to pass.  The captain will say the one or the two; (usually verbally, not with an actual whistle)

LDB  RDB     left descending bank;   right descending bank (not north or south bank, as the river winds and curves-

Lockmaster-  person in charge of the locks. The commercial traffic is priority; so we must ask permission to be locked, and wait our turn.   (one lock was 4 hours waiting for barges to come and go)

Example:    we might radio the lockmaster and state “downbound PC calling the Brandon lockmaster, requesting a lockdown; what is the wait time?)

Example: We received a radio call from a towboat captain;      “to the pc downbound near high bridge, see you on my 2;  suggest you speedup past the bridge ; it’s not a good spot to meet the barge. Stay starboard and safe travels.”

**  Imagine this in a slow southern New Orleans drawl and you will better understand our challenges***

Bridge Tender-  person in charge of opening the bridge.  some bridges are off sight tenders; they receive the call and operate it remotely.  Others are located on the bridge and will see the boats coming.    We found a few bridges that don’t open during rush hour; a few railroad bridges remain open and close when a train is coming.    There are lift bridges that will raise on demand.   Glad we have a reliable reference book with us.

MORE Terms

Lock and Dam-   Boat enters lock , then the water level is reduced dropping the boats between 8 and 30 feet . the gates open, the boats move on below the adjacent dam.

Whicket – submersible dam.  Based on water levels, the lockmaster can “lower the wickets” and boats go through.   The first time is odd- the chart shows a dam; and when you get there, the dam Is gone and you boat right through.

Barge Traffic- who knew that 30 % of the worlds grain is moved through Alton MO on the Mississippi via barge ?       Grain, crude oil are examples – the tow boats push 4,8, 15 barges at a time.  (what weve seen so far.)     I’ve heard the barge traffic on the MISSISSIPPI can be the size of multiple football fields. 

 

 

 

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About mnsailors

Our blog will highlight our travels along America's Great Loop. We sold our sailboat on Lake Superior for a Trawler to do America's Great Loop in 2016.
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