Getting A 630' Great Lakes Freighter Into The Old River Bed, Cleveland,Ohio

Picture of Getting A 630' Great Lakes Freighter Into The Old River Bed, Cleveland,Ohio
So the number one rule in the Cuyahoga river is to check for traffic. Luckily for us, the Alpena already left and is out of our way. So long suckers!
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Step 1: Don't Forget To Slow Down!

Picture of Don't Forget To Slow Down!
Because it's happened before, I've seen it! This also a good time to call NS1 railroad bridge and give them a heads up that we will be there in about an hour. You don't want to piss off the railroad or you'll never get a lift! And who wants to tread water all day in the Cuyahoga? Not me!

Step 2: How Many Miles Off The Break Wall?

Picture of How Many Miles Off The Break Wall?
I say 3 miles but I'm kind of a chicken. Don't forget we are fully loaded, 25 foot draft and carrying 19,438 net tons of lime stone. Look mom, no brakes!!!!

Step 3: Break Wall!

Picture of Break Wall!
What a beautiful line up on a windless day. What could possibly go wrong? Don't answer that!

Step 4: Chart Time!

Picture of Chart Time!
If look at my pencil, you'll see the inner pier and the outer harbor. That's pretty Neato!

Step 5: Take A Knee Everybody.

Picture of Take A Knee Everybody.
If we take a left, we go up the main river, no thanks! We checked the local notice to mariners, and they're fixing all the bridges up there. We better take a right and go up the old river bed, and why not? That's where the dock is! From here on out the old river bed is referred to as the ORB. There might be a test later!

Step 6: Bingo!

Picture of Bingo!
There's the dock! How hard could this be?

Step 7: Ya! We Got A Lift!

Picture of Ya! We Got A Lift!
The hardest part is now over and they only had to run one West bound. I'll take that any day!

Step 8: Will She Fit?

Picture of Will She Fit?
It sure doesn't look good. But it fits! I've been coming through here for 12 years! I say, less than 1 mph, no problems.

Step 9: I Can Breathe Now.

Picture of I Can Breathe Now.
There's the day light we've been waiting for. You don't want to hit that place, they bill you for the damage! Can you believe it?

Step 10: Are You Sure She'll Fit?

Picture of Are You Sure She'll Fit?
I'm positive. Have faith, we have the mate up forward calling distances over the bow. "50 foot closing, 40 foot closing, 30 foot still closing" he sounds like a broken record!
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baudeagle1 month ago

This is a cool post, thanks for sharing. I came across this blog post a while back, it lists a bunch of AIS/marine vessel tracking websites. I am not sure if you can track ships in real time or not but it is pretty awesome.

jmans12 months ago

I guess I just like watching ship come and go,Since iI was a kid my g father work on the ships and tugs for reiss. If your ship ever comes to port in GB I'll give you Horn Salute.

jmans12 months ago
(removed by author or community request)
amenough (author)  jmans12 months ago

Good guess, very close, Calumet. (Formerly David Z. Norton)

gmiller6 amenough2 months ago
oppie2 months ago

I'm sending this to a buddy that used to Master freighters on the lakes.

mlevesque2 months ago

Talk about a tight fit... Very interesting.

riff raff2 months ago

Very cool.

snoopindaweb2 months ago

Very interesting I still prefer Trucking tho, especially now. Thank You. ~ : - }

amenough (author)  snoopindaweb2 months ago

Even though I've never done it, I prefer trucking too. I would love to have a CDL. Be your own boss, see the country, sounds like a good deal.

Hello amenough, Yes those parts make it all good and operating the vehicles are a gas. Easier than a SUV etc, once You get used to them, in about a month or two. But person compares it to being on a vacation and remembering driving 500 miles in a day. But doing it day after day month after month and year after year,- etc. The politics are incredible, from "attitude checks" by scale men, Highway Patrol, Police, etc, to being "Force Dispatched' - driving a couple days straight and hoping Your log books- (sometimes using 2 or three to cover Your hours in service) - will pass muster to keep the dispatcher's delivery promises. - I hear that all that goes on computer now, measuring Your progress from point to point. Pretty hard to cheat that. - Basically just driving safely keeps any attention off a person. I have to admit I think Merle Haggard has it right all in all ~ "Men become addicted to the Grind" ~. Good luck and use Your best judgement if You jump in with both feet. ~ : - }
amenough (author) 2 months ago

I'm glad you all like it. I really didn't think more than a dozen people would notice so I'm kind of shocked. What other freighter junk would you like to see?

tsutton6 amenough2 months ago

Engine room, please.

pilot controls and what they do would be cool

amenough (author)  lastot0692 months ago

You got it! Although you may be surprised by how antiquated it is. This boat was built in 1973 and has only now just started to receive some updates.

castleroc2 months ago

A great read that will be shared. Thank you for this 'ible. Real life at it's best.

castleroc2 months ago

A great read that will be shared. Thank you for this 'ible. Real life at it's best.

castleroc2 months ago

A great read that will be shared. Thank you for this 'ible. Real life at it's best.

castleroc2 months ago

A great read that will be shared. Thank you for this 'ible. Real life at it's best.

istoffel2 months ago

really cool, reminds me of being up on the flight deck of my aircraft carrier as we maneuvered into different ports, or in the Suez Canal, but your job looks a whole lot harder since we always had tugs helping us around.
just curious, the sepia tones to your pics, is it because of lighting at that time of day, or are the windows on your bridge tinted, or something I didn't think of?

amenough (author)  istoffel2 months ago

Suez, that's amazing! I've been through the Panama about a bakers dozen though. The sepia was completely coincidental. I'm not that computer clever and did the whole thing on my I-phone in about 10 minutes. It was pretty dreary out that day.

airds2 months ago

Here's a bulker going back to sea - down the River Clyde. Time lapse by Gillian Locke - a Clyde pilot

diy_bloke2 months ago

Great job. I will sure I will come in handy, next time I wanna do this :-)
all jokes aside: good reading

zappenfusen2 months ago

Worked on river for years. Great Instructable! Sure beats "How to Poop".

Oh how I love watching the ships come into Cleveland. You guys constantly astound me. Thank you for the write-up! Here is a groundling's eye view!

amenough (author)  KookyKreations2 months ago

The St. Marys Challenger. When he's in town, we have to go around him. He's a white knuckler too. We only have about 10' off of him, it's manageable though. You really have to have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

wrsexton2 months ago

Incredible! Guess there isn't much time on board to play with arduino's and such. What a sense of accomplishment that must give!!!

amenough (author)  wrsexton2 months ago

Without a doubt, you do have days where you feel like you can do anything, that's about 5% of the time and only happens in the summer months. The rest of the time I spend crunching down on my cyanide tablet.

nwlaurie2 months ago

I seriously enjoyed that! A refreshing change from all those wheels and resistors!

MrNathann2 months ago

Very entertaining instructable.

How often do you make a shipment and can I come?

What does the weather have to be like before you decide to wait for colmer weather?

amenough (author)  MrNathann2 months ago

Great question! Very unlike ocean boats (Salty's) all our docks are measured in hours. When on Lake Erie, you might make 3 docks a day, due to close proximity. It's extremely labor intensive and you have to really not like sleeping. If your on Lake Michigan, it relaxes a bit more in that it takes 24 hours to get from the Mackinac bridge to Chicago. As far as weather goes, it really comes down to experience and threshold/ will power. When you start seeing 25 knots of wind, your really starting to press your luck, although I've done it many times, and scared the crap out of myself as a result. This job truly brings you closer to God b/c I have no explanation for all the times I've "gotten away with it". Hero to zero in one bad judgement call. My day is coming, I know it.

rbg0092 months ago

Single screw? Or maybe 6?

amenough (author)  rbg0092 months ago

6? I wish. Single screw about a 14' pitch. The mains are 2 Alco's 2500HP/ a piece, single bow thruster, 800HP

jaret2 months ago

NICE! About 10 years ago when I was 6 we used to go to shooters all the time and I fell in love with that bridge. Nice instructable, really brings back the good times.

P.S. That pic is going as my background!

amenough (author)  jaret2 months ago

Yes, that Shooters is a pretty popular place. I can't even tell you how many wedding photos of which we've been in the background. That place is terrifying in the summer b/c everybody rafts there boats off and we have to call ahead to clear everybody out. We rescued a guy out of the water there one summer, drunk as hell.

DasBigfoot2 months ago

Very interesting... more, more!

finite2 months ago

This is pretty awesome, thanks for posting it

Nicapizza2 months ago
Wow! I also live in cleveland, and I see the steeple of my school from. That picture! This is a great guide, thanks do sharing!
veeguy2 months ago

I used to love watching the coal and clay boats navigate into the Sheboygan harbor on Lake Michigan. My older sister was particularly attracted to dating the English sailors on the clay boats. My parents would often invite them over for dinner with our family. The coal docks and bulk cargo yards have now been replaced by the Blue Harbor resort hotel. Tourism is great for the local economy but I miss the excitement of the big boats arriving in port.

caitlinsdad2 months ago

1. Any danger from pirates on the Canadian coast?

2. What is Talk-like-a-pirate Day like on the ship?

3. How fast can your ship do the Kessel Run?

4. How many people stand on the bow and do the Titanic pose?

Nice, interesting overview of operations. How does one qualify to be a captain of such a large ship? Shouldn't tugs pilot the big rig into dock?

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