posted on Dec, 21 2012 @ 11:27 AM
Originally posted by Raist
reply to post by whenandwhere
I did not think of them taking less fuel, but that does make sense.
Do you recall how far a barge gets on fuel (I guess sort of a MPG type of thing)?
Also since they are taking on less fuel are they having to make more stops or is that fuel getting them to their destination?
How much fuel used depends on many different variables so it would be hard to give you a definitive answer .
It would depend on engine size (Horsepower) , water level , loads of barges and how many barges they are towing and how hard the pilots/captains run
the boat and the list goes on . For example the last boat I worked on held 35,000 gallons of fuel , in normal pool stage and towing your typical 15
barge tow , loads and empties , I would refuel the boat maybe twice a month . If the river is running brown (high water/flooding) , then that makes it
a harder shove up river and we will burn more fuel . There are to many variable to give you a good , exact answer . But normally , a boat would
probably take on fuel twice a month . We do not like them running to low for a couple of reasons , dirt and rust settles in the bottom of the tanks
and the pumps would start sucking it up and clog the fuel filters and two , a boat that sets too high in the water is a pain to handle when running
"light boat" (no tow of barges in front of it) . It lists to one side or the other and wallows around when making turns .
For example Back during the flood of 96' , I came on watch (a watch is a six hour shift) at the city front of my home town , we had to drop a string
of barges off just a few miles up river from where we were at . We had 15 loaded coal barges , and what should have taken a little better than hour
took us all of six hours to get to the fleet . The engines were screaming , the turbos whining and we were barely making any headway . We burnt
several hundred gallons of fuel in those six hours .
We do not have fuel gauges on the boats like regular vehicles . The Engineer (which is what I was when I retired) will go around the boat , and
measure the fuel left in the tanks with a measuring stick , sit down and subtract the new reading from the old reading and come up with how many
gallons we used . For example , if the boat used 2 inches of fuel would mean we burnt 900 gallons of fuel for the day (this is not an exact number
since boats vary in size and power) .
As for your other post concerning measuring the depth of the river between Locks and Dams , that would be the Coast Guard and even the tow boats
themselves will report river depth as we not only have radar on the boats but most all have depth finders also .