Getting a 630' Great Lakes Freighter Into the Old River Bed, Cleveland,Ohio





Introduction: Getting a 630' Great Lakes Freighter Into the Old River Bed, Cleveland,Ohio

About: Hi everybody! I'm a Great Lakes District 2 ship pilot! As a result I don't have many other instructables to offer.

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!

Step 1: 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?

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!

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

Step 4: 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.

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!

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

Step 7: 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?

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.

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?

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!

Step 11: Has Anybody Looked Over the Stern?

Ya we better make sure the port quarter is coming through. Oh! It's getting narrow back there! I can't help but feel, though, our stern is going to slip into the jack knife just in time!

Step 12: Calling Willow Street Bridge on Channel 16, Are You There?

"I see you, keep it coming."
That's a load off my mind. We only have about 100 feet over the bow and we 'll be painting that bridge ourselves!

Step 13: Day Light!

Well ok then. That wasn't so bad. Oh ! I've been looking so hard at the bow, I almost forgot about the stern again!

Step 14: Recognize This Building?

Tons of room ! I'm going back to bed! That's the "Christies" strip club. God rest her soul , that's where the dancer fell over the second floor hand rail and passed away a few days later. A terrible accident.

Step 15: One More Corner to Go.

Who designed this whack-a-do river and why are we taking a 630' ship up it ? Oh ya, that's right, my kids go to private school. That's why I go up it.

Step 16: Send Them Over!

Launch your deck hands over on the landing chair. Let's get this show going! I have to finish customs !

Step 17: My Precious.

What does 19,000 net tons of stone look like?

Step 18: Start Me Up I'll Never Stop!

We 're tied up , the boom is out, we're unloading! Awesome! Give the person next to you a high five! We should have this all out in about 5 hours and then....hey wait a minute, how in the hell are we going to get out of here?

1.) how far off the break wall do we pull the throttle back?
2.) what is the name of the first bridge and when do we call them?
3.) what is the ORB?



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    54 Discussions

    1. 3 miles off the breakwall
    2. NS1 gets called as you're lining up for the channel
    3. ORB is Old river Bed
    BONUS: Google mapped the area to get a better feel for it and found the Calumet unloading at Ontario Stone Dock 1

    1) At the West Pierhead Light (to full astern)

    2a) The Iron Curtain

    2b) When we leave Duluth

    3) The Back Channel or....The shape of your wake when the Iron Curtain remains closed.

    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.

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

    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. ~ : - }

    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?

    3 replies

    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.

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

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

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

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