This MSIB covers BOTH Sector New Orleans and MSU Baton Rouge AORs.
The National Weather Service forecasts river stages will continue to fall during the next 28 days. Lower Mississippi River (LMR) users should plan for extreme low water conditions. The safety precautions outlined below are in effect for all waters of the LMR from Mile Marker 0.0 to Mile Marker 303 Ahead of Passes (AHP).
Mariners are reminded the sailing line – between Mile Markers 0 – 232 – follows a path through naturally deep water connected by twelve marked channels known as “crossings”. Low water conditions have significantly reduced water depths in areas of the river outside the sailing line where mariners in the past had sufficient water depth to navigate. In accordance with 33 CFR 164, mariners are required to conduct proper navigation assessments. Mariners are urged to conduct proper route assessment and pay particular attention to water levels, including closely reviewing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Navigation Condition Surveys prior to their transit.
1. Industry representatives should coordinate closely and with due consideration for extreme low water with River Pilot organizations to ensure the safe and efficient movement of vessels.
2. Pilots should maintain safe speeds when transiting in the vicinity of docks, fleeting areas, and other transiting vessels to minimize adverse impacts from the ship’s wake.
3. Ports and facilities are strongly encouraged to monitor water depths, to both their docks and approaches. Adjustments to docking procedures or loading and transit parameters should be closely coordinated with and communicated to vessel operators.
4. All towing vessels in vicinity of College Town Light (MM 225 to MM 228.3) are advised to keep flat on the bank and provide a wide berth to deep-draft vessel traffic.
5. When navigating the Upper Baton Rouge (190) bridge, mariners should refer to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lower Mississippi River Chart No. 73 which states, the Port Allen span is navigable when the Baton Rouge River gauge is above 15’. Current river levels do not support using this span.
6. Aids to Navigation discrepancies should be reported to the Sector New Orleans Command Center.
7. Mariners should pay close attention to Broadcast Notice Mariners for information or specific hazards along their planned route.
Ports and Facilities are requested to report impacted operations due to low water conditions (e.g., reduced drafts, interruptions to mid-stream operations, etc.) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This MSIB supersedes MSIB Vol XXIII Issue 038 Low Water Safety Advisory: MM 167 to MM 303 AHP LMR (12’ and Below) issued on June 11, 2023.
For further information, contact the following:
Sector New Orleans Command Center: (504) 365-2545
Sector New Orleans Waterways Management: (504) 365-2280 or SecNOLA-WPM@uscg.mil
MSU Baton Rouge Waterways Management: (225) 298-5400 x230 or MSUBatonRougeWWM@uscg.mil
Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River: (504) 365-2514, VHF FM Ch. 05A, 12 or 67