The U-S Army Corps of Engineers is urging boaters on the Mississippi River to give locks-and-dams a wide berth. Spokesman Patrick Loch points to a close call a week-and-a-half ago when operators quickly deployed a lifeboat because a pontoon was floating toward Lock and Dam 3 near Red Wing. He says they were able to get to the pontoon before it reached the gates, and get the two boaters off the pontoon to safety.
Loch says, “The currents up- and downstream get kind of crazy and you really don’t know what they’re gonna do, and if you all of a sudden did lose power, you don’t have a whole lot of time to react.” Loch says boaters should be sure to carry extra gasoline…have an appropriate-sized anchor plus enough line to secure the vessel…and carry a marine radio tuned to distress channel 16 because cell phone coverage might be spotty.
Mississippi River boaters should strictly observe restricted areas 600 feet upstream and 150 feet downstream from dams.