Coast Guard Sector New Orleans has issued an MSIB with the following Towing Vessel Safety Precautions During High Water.
After careful coordination with, and input from, leaders throughout the towing industry, the Captain of the Port (COTP) New Orleans puts forth the following additional, towing vessel specific safety precautions to mitigate hazards associated with high water and strong river currents:
- Towing vessels shall not transit between two anchored ships.
- Towing vessels less than 79 feet in length should maintain a one-foot minimum freeboard at the lowest point. Towing vessels should only operate with less than one-foot of freeboard if the vessel’s Safety Management System (SMS) specifically addresses the hazardous conditions associated with high river currents and low freeboard.
- Towing vessels operating in the COTP New Orleans Zone (Mile Marker 0 – 303 Above Head of Passes) shall maintain a minimum barge-to-horsepower (HP) ratio of 320 HP per standard barge.
- Vessels shall maintain a minimum safe distance upriver of stationary objects (such an anchor blocks, midstream berths, etc.) of twice the tow length. If the minimum distance allowed is impracticable, then a second assist vessel would be required.
- Liteboat vessel(s) engaging in a downstreaming maneuver that is greater than 150 feet from a bank should be limited to daylight hours as much as possible. Additionally, a rescue vessel should be available during these operations.
- Liteboat vessel(s) engaging in a downstreaming maneuver that is greater than 150 feet from the bank should be 65 feet or greater in length overall (LOA), and at least 1200 HP.
These safety precautions are applicable when the Carrollton Gauge reaches 16′ on the rise and will remain in place until the Carrollton Gauge reaches 16′ on the fall.
See the attached MSIB for documentation.