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What Size Boat For Mississippi River

Rise Of Barge Traffic

Worlds Largest Towboat

Freight tonnage on the Upper Mississippi fell below 1 million tons per year in 1916 and hovered around 750,000 tons until 1931. A number of factors had led to this decline. Log rafts and raft towboats had disappeared and river cargo service had shifted to short-haul instead of long distance hauling. The First World War made crewmen scarce and helped to make the railroads stronger. The deficiencies of railroad transportation during World War I led to the Transportation Act of 1920.

In spite of these problems, barge traffic exploded with the growth of trade from the First World War. The heavy transportation needs of wartime could not be met by railroads, and river transport took off some of the pressure. In 1917, the United States Shipping Board allocated $3,160,000 to the Emergency Fleet Corporation to build and operate barges and towboats on the Upper Mississippi. Federal control was augmented by the Federal Control Act of 1918. The U.S. Railroad Administration formed the Committee on Inland Waterways to oversee the work. All floating equipment on the Mississippi and Warrior River systems was commandeered and $12 million was appropriated for new construction. Service was provided primarily on the Lower Mississippi.

Can You Boat Down The Mississippi River

The short answer is: yes, you absolutely can boat down the Mississippi river. You cannot, however take more than a kayak or rowboat on the upper 482 miles of the Mississippi river.

The navigable section of the river begins at Coon Rapids Dam in Minneapolis. You can use a motor boat from that dam down the remaining 1,838 miles of the river until you hit the Gulf of Mexico.

Traveling the Mississippi by boat could be a great adventure or it could be a horrible failure depending on your planning. If you just grab your boat and hit the water you would be fine in many areas but as you get closer to the mouth of the river the places to stop and fuel up are few and far between.

There is one section where it is over 400 miles in between places to fuel up on the lower Mississippi. If you dont plan ahead and make sure that you take everything into account your dream journey could turn into a nightmare of floating powerless down the Mississippi hoping to find a place to refuel.

Why Houseboat On The Mississippi

There are many places to rent houseboats. Websites like will help you find the different destinations.

There was just something attractive about being on the Mississippi River rather than in a lake.

Maybe its my life-long love of the writings of Mark Twain .

Maybe it was the idea of passing by or stopping at different river towns while in the boat.

Maybe it was experiencing the locks & dams that help control the river and still allow boating traffic to go up and down.

Houseboating on the Mississippi just sounded more adventurous than being on a lake, constrained by a circular shoreline. We could actually go somewhere.

So how did it go?

It was definitely an adventure.

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Mississippi River Fishing Information

Although the Mississippi River can be intimidating for anglers, its mix of backwater lakes, running sloughs, tailwaters and main channel habitats offer spectacular fishing opportunities.

For more detailed information on fishing on the Mississippi River including maps, safety tips for boating, and river habitats for fish see the Fishing and Boating on the Mississippi River guide available at the Wisconsin DNR – La Crosse Service Center.

Special rules, regulations and agreements apply when fishing the Upper Mississippi River. Reciprocity agreements between Wisconsin and the states of Iowa and Minnesota allow a person to fish the boundary waters on the Mississippi River providing they have a valid fishing license from one of the adjacent states. The boundary waters area is defined by the railroad tracks that parallel both sides of the river. However, residents must possess a resident license when fishing in their own states boundary waters. Regulations between Wisconsin and the other states differ so anglers must obey the regulations in the state they are fishing.

Meet The American Duchess

Pin on River Boats

Spacious luxury awaits aboard the floating masterpiece that is the American Duchess. Combining the best of the old and the new, this beautiful lady epitomizes the grace and grandeur that have made cruising on the Mississippi River a cherished American tradition for more than two centuries. This riverboat offers exquisite dining, beautiful decks and exceptional amenities. Her suites range from 150 to 630 square feet, allowing guests to stay in some of the largest accommodations on the rivers. Unique to the American Duchess are her Loft Suites, which feature two stories enhanced by floor-to-ceiling windows, two full bathrooms, a comfortable dining area, a beautiful lounge with a queen sofa-bed, a private balcony and an upstairs bedroom.

The Grand Lobby

The Lincoln Library

A reading room and gathering spot with a collection of books, board games and maps of the river.

Grand Lobby Bar

A passageway alongside The Show Lounge, featuring a series of paintings by Claude Monet.

Inspired by Americaâs heartland and our Southern heritage, our menus showcase the varied cultural and culinary influences of our nation. Savor each succulent bite, swirl and sip amidst the rich ambiance of the Grand Dining Room. If you are looking for a more casual atmosphere, the River Club & Terrace is for you.

Owners Suite

Ownerâs Suites With Private Balcony 630SQ FT
Loft Suites With Private Balcony 630SQ FT
Deluxe Suites With Private Balcony 530SQ FT
Veranda Suites With Private Balcony 200SQ FT

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Highlights Of The Mississippi River

New Orleans, LA to New Orleans, LA

  • Pre-CruisePackage and Complimentary Hotel Stay
  • Day 1New Orleans, LA
  • Day 2Houmas House, LA
  • Day 3Baton Rouge, LA
  • Day 4Oak Alley, LA
  • Day 5New Orleans, LA

Pittsburgh, PA to St. Louis, MO

  • Pre-CruisePackages and Complimentary Hotel Stays
  • Day 1Pittsburgh, PA
  • Day 9Cape Girardeau, MO
  • Day 10St. Louis, MO
  • Day 11St. Louis, MO

St. Paul, MN to New Orleans, LA

  • Pre-CruisePre-Cruise Hotel Stay
  • Day 1St. Paul, MN
  • Day 2Red Wing, MN
  • Day 3Winona, MN
  • Day 6Fort Madison, IA
  • Day 7Hannibal, MO
  • Day 8St. Louis, MO
  • Day 9Day of River Cruising
  • Day 10Memphis, TN
  • Day 11Day of River Cruising
  • Day 12Vicksburg, MS
  • Day 14Baton Rouge, LA
  • Day 15New Orleans, LA

Memphis, TN to Nashville, TN

  • Pre-CruisePackages and Complimentary Hotel Stays
  • Day 1Memphis, TN
  • Day 2Cruising the Mississippi and Ohio River
  • Day 3Paducah, KY
  • Day 4Cruising Lake Barkley and the Cumberland River
  • Day 5Dover, TN

New Orleans, LA to St. Louis, MO

  • Pre-CruisePre-Cruise Hotel Stay
  • Day 1New Orleans, LA
  • Day 2Baton Rouge, LA
  • Day 3Natchez, MS
  • Day 5Day of River Cruising
  • Day 6Memphis, TN
  • Day 7New Madrid, MO
  • Day 8Paducah, KY
  • Day 9Day of River Cruising
  • Day 10St. Louis, MO
  • Day 11St. Louis, MO

Best Mississippi River Boat

  • Posts: 19July 14, 2019 at 9:49 pm#1867487

    If you had the opportunity to buy a new boat just to fish the Mississippi River, what would you buy and why?I think I am going to sell my 1850 Crestliner Pro-tiller.

    riverrunsPosts: 2,584July 14, 2019 at 10:29 pm#1867491

    Alumacraft Tiller Boat. Why sell the 1850? That should be a fine boat on the Mississippi.

    Alumacraft Tiller Boat. Why sell the 1850? That should be a fine boat on the Mississippi.

    Alumacraft Tiller Boat. Why sell the 1850? That should be a fine boat on the Mississippi

    X3I have lived and fished the Miss all my life, I also own the 1850 Pro Tiller. I cant think of a boat better suited for river fishing than this one, its light for its size, smooth ride, cuts the waves nicely, good on gas, stable and a nice front deck to fish from.The only other boat I can suggest is a 16 foot jon boat with a 25 hp. But it has its limitations on the lake with large waves. .

    What doesnt the 1850 give you that youre looking for?Don

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Survey Results And Reports

Wisconsin fishery biologists conduct fish and habitat surveys on several navigation pools of the Mississippi River. The final reports, when available, are online at Fish and Habitat Survey Reports. The reports are categorized on a county basis as follows: Pool 7 – La Crosse County, Pool 8 – La Crosse and Vernon County, Pool 9 – Vernon and Crawford County, Pool 10 – Grant County.

Highlights Of The Mississippi

EMD Powered Towboats

âEverything was wonderful. I cannot remember having such a great time. The entire staff was great and so accommodating. I loved this trip. I have been on cruises on big ships and there is no comparison. It was so much nicer on a smaller boat. We had the chance to meet and probably had a meal, a drink or excursion with almost everyone on board.â

â Cindy E. – Frederick, MD

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Can You Boat The Entire Missouri River

Knowing that you can boat the Missouri River is great but what if you want to boat the entire river, is that possible?

Yes, it is possible to boat the entire Missouri River but you would have to change boats at some point during the journey.

The upper section of the river is only deep enough for a canoe or kayak. There are also six dams that dont have a lock on the top portion of the river so you would have to carry your boat along the shore and then relaunch it once you get to the bottom of the dam.

Once you reach Sioux City you can then use a power boat for the remainder of the trip. You do have to be careful as there are many places that have sand bars or debris that could damage your boat or motors.

The time of year can be a factor as flooding on the river can introduce a lot more debris and some areas can become unnavigable or even be closed to recreational boats and barges.

Golden Age Of Steamboats

The historical roots of the prototypical Mississippi steamboat, or Western Rivers steamboat, can be traced to designs by easterners like Oliver Evans, John Fitch, Daniel French, Robert Fulton, Nicholas Roosevelt, James Rumsey, and John Stevens. In the span of six years, the evolution of the prototypical Mississippi steamboat was well underway, as seen by the introduction of the first vessels:

Kate Adams,

The steamboat was an ideal solution for the growing country while America boomed in the age of President Andrew Jackson. In the 1810s there were 20 boats on the river by the 1830s, there were more than 1200. By the 1820s, with the Southern states joining the Union and the land converted to the cotton plantations so indicative of the Antebellum South, methods were needed to move the bales of cotton, rice, timber, tobacco, and molasses. A large portion of the population had moved west, and more farms were established. In the 1820s, steamers were fueled first by wood, then coal, which pushed barges of coal from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. Regular steamboat commerce began between Pittsburgh and Louisville.

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Water Quality Sensor Hitching Ride On Mississippi River Boat

MEMPHIS, Tenn. A data-gathering sensor attached to the American Queen steamboat will give scientists and cities a better understanding of water quality along the entire length of the Mississippi River, officials said Monday.

U.S. Geological Survey and Army Corps of Engineers officials, a group of Mississippi River city mayors and the operators of the American Queen gathered to show off the new equipment on the steam-driven vessel in Memphis. The stately steamboat is the first private vessel to carry a sensor that gathers data to help preserve and restore ecosystems, and to buoy economies of cities and towns up and down the heavily traveled commercial waterway.

Good water quality is vital for cities that get their drinking water from the river. Mississippi River water is also used for industrial purposes such as farm irrigation and beverage manufacturing, and by tourists who enjoy fishing, kayaking and other recreational activities.

Scientists can learn from it, too.

Us Army Corps Of Engineers

Mississippi River Cruises â Everything You Need To Know ...

The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and major Army command made up of some 34,600 civilian and 650 military personnel, making it the world’s largest public engineering, design, and construction management agency. Although generally associated with dams, canals, and flood protection in the United States, USACE is involved in a wide range of public works, including the following:

  • Navigation: Supporting navigation by maintaining and improving channels was the Corps of Engineers’ earliest Civil Works mission, dating to Federal laws in 1824 authorizing the Corps to improve safety on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and several ports. Today, the Corps maintains more than 12,000 miles of inland waterways and operates 235 locks. These waterwaysâa system of rivers, lakes, and coastal bays improved for commercial and recreational transportationâcarry about 1/6 of the Nation’s inter-city freight, at a cost per ton-mile about 1/2 that of rail or 1/10 that of trucks. USACE also maintains 300 commercial harbors, through which pass 2 billion tons of cargo a year, and more than 600 smaller harbors.
  • Flood Damage Reduction: The Corps was first called upon to address flood problems along the Mississippi River in the mid-19th century. They began work on the Mississippi River and Tributaries Flood Control Project in 1928. The Flood Control Act of 1936 gave the Corps the mission to provide flood protection to the entire country.

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How Much Of The Missouri River Is Navigable

Considering the above information, the next obvious question is, how far is the Missouri River navigable?

Unfortunately, how much of the MIssouri River is navigable depends entirely on which boat you are using. The upper 1,806 miles of the Missouri are really only navigable by smaller boats like kayaks or canoes assuming you are trying to travel the entire distance.

There are many places along the Missouri River or lakes where you can use a houseboat or powered boat but you cant take those boats all the way down the river for one simple reason, dams!

There are 6 dams spread throughout the upper Missouri River that dont have locks. That means to continue down the Missouri you have to carry your boat around the dam and relaunch it in the water below. With a canoe or kayak this is an inconvenience. With a houseboat or any other type of boat this is impossible .

These dams without locks make traveling down the entire Missouri River impossible except for those smaller boats that you can carry or drag around the dams. There are multiple stretches of the Missouri that are 200+ miles in between dams.

You could certainly use power boats along those stretches but you cant take them to the next section of the river without taking the boat out of the water.

Boat Size For The River

shootemagain said:Havent you been to swift water rescue? ….if you do screw up you cant rescue yourself!!! I’ve seen your boat, you should be fine as long as the current isnt roaring. Mine is a 1448 with a 25 and with tall sides. I wouldnt think twice about putting it in the white or arkansas as long as the conditions are right. Bring those fish to the station….

carbonelement said:just make sure you call and ask for the flow before you “plan” your trip. We are up to 56 right now and according to the locks above us we could be about 100 by this weekend. So PLEASE call the locks and ask for the flow first.

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Navigation And Flood Control

A clear channel is needed for the barges and other vessels that make the main stem Mississippi one of the great commercial waterways of the world. The task of maintaining a navigation channel is the responsibility of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which was established in 1802. Earlier projects began as early as 1829 to remove snags, close off secondary channels and excavate rocks and sandbars.

Steamboats entered trade in the 1820s, so the period 18301850 became the golden age of steamboats. As there were few roads or rails in the lands of the Louisiana Purchase, river traffic was an ideal solution. Cotton, timber and food came down the river, as did Appalachian coal. The port of New Orleans boomed as it was the trans-shipment point to deep sea ocean vessels. As a result, the image of the twin-stacked, wedding cake Mississippi steamer entered into American mythology. Steamers worked the entire route from the trickles of Montana to the Ohio River down the Missouri and Tennessee, to the main channel of the Mississippi. Only with the arrival of the railroads in the 1880s did steamboat traffic diminish. Steamboats remained a feature until the 1920s. Most have been superseded by pusher tugs. A few survive as iconsthe Delta Queen and the River Queen for instance.

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