The Rest of The Story

The article below is taken from the August edition of The Ripples, Division Eight's newsletter.  Article was written by C.J. Paddack, DCP.

An Auxiliary first effort into a new area for Division Eight and possibly for many other auxiliary Divisions throughout the nation was completed on, 8-6-1.  The initial journey by two Auxiliarists, Bill and Mary Husfield of flotilla 85 on a fully operational river towboat pushing fifteen loaded barges north bound (no this is not a misprint, river term is north bound when going upstream, against the current) on the Tennessee River from Paducah, KY was accomplished in a "TOWBOAT RIDE ALONG".

    Bill and Mary boarded the Enterprise Star, a vessel in the fleet of R&W Marine at Paducah, KY on 8-5-1 at 1000 .  They were whisked out to the Enterprise Star from the dock at Walker Boat Yard by the WC James, a towboat that makes and breaks barge sets in the Paducah area.   Transfer was made from the WC James to the Enterprise Star without stopping the forward motion of either vessel.  The push from the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers to the mooring cells just below Kentucky Dam was completed around 1500.  Due to the number of vessels locking through Kentucky Dam lock due to Barkley Dam lock being out of service for routine maintenance, lockage was not performed until the next morning between 0530 and 0730.  Once the lockage was accomplished, Bill and Mary rode up the Tennessee River to mile 43 (Kenlake State Park area) where they were transferred to a Auxiliary Vessel with Jerry Turley as Coxswain and CJ Paddack as Crew. 

   The Enterprise Star cut her power allowing Jerry to come along side on the starboard side.  Jerry maneuvered his vessel up to the Enterprise Star with ease and grace, clearly displaying his ability as an Auxiliary Coxswain.  Tossing a line from the bow of the Auxiliary vessel to a deck hand who secured it to an amidships cleat enabling the transfer of the Auxiliarists to be completed quickly and effortlessly while the momentum of the Enterprise Star continued forward.  The trip was quickly resumed with minimal loss of headway up the Tennessee River by the Enterprise Star, once Jerry cast off and backed down and off to the starboard of the Enterprise Star.

    Many fine pictures of the trip were taken throughout its duration.  They clearly show the fine quarters and machinery spaces aboard the Enterprise Star as well as many aspects with which the crew contend with routinely.  One item of particular interest too both the captain, crew and us in the Auxiliary was clearly shown in pictures containing recreational boat actions when in close proximity to the tow.  The ability of the Auxiliary and towboat crew to interact has definitely brought a better understanding to each to the other's abilities, likes, dislikes and universal desire for all who use the water to do so "SAFELY".  This is an important step in the direction of a much needed relationship and understanding between the commercial vessel and recreational vessel use of the waterways, displaying the continued interest and efforts of the Auxiliary to promote boating safety.

Comments from Mary Husfield, SO-VE, that will also appear in the August Edition of The Ripples

The Towboat "Ride-Alongs" have started, and since this first one was a last minute affair, we set out for Paducah to board the ENTERPRISE STAR, part of R & W Marine.  We were driven to the destination by CJ Paddack to the much smaller WC JAMES, which then transferred us to the STAR in mid river. The STAR carried a Captain and a Pilot, an engineer, a cook, and 4 deck hands.  All were wonderful, we couldn't have asked for better.  Our Captain was Mark Halliman, and the Pilot was Bobbie Owens.  Both these helmsmen took turns at the helm in 6 hour shifts.  We ate when the crew did, and our main point of interest was the wheelhouse (helm).  Yes, we both got a chance to “drive”, with lots of help from them. 

We traveled up the Tennessee River from Paducah and had to stop for multiple lockages at Kentucky Dam.  We stayed tied to the Federal Mooring cells from 3pm until 6am the next morning.  Since there was time, we walked on the barges with our guide and looked around the tow.  We had a tour of the engine room, and got a sleeping room.  The air conditioner on board worked so well it felt cold.  At 6am, we began locking, and this took until 9am, since the 1150ft package could not fit as one unit and had to be split and reassembled. 

The expert handling by the two helmsmen on was top-notch.  Estimated arrival at Kenlake was 1pm, and last minute arrangements were made for the transfer to Jerry Turley's facility with CJ as crew from the STAR.  They were right on with the time; as we were in front of Kenlake, the Patrol Boat pulled up alongside with our ride home.  After snapping a few last hurried pictures, we jumped in the boat. 

We have definitely come away with a whole new outlook for the towboat industry, and the time spent on board was well worth it.  So, next time you see one of these tows, please give him plenty of room!!  These are our new friends!  They have 10' of draft, and must stay within the channel, and the towboat we were on was 150’ and 42’ wide.  The wheelhouse was about 42’ from the water. 

Yes, there were several "crazies", such as a small jon boat.  This person did not realize just how dangerous these barges can be.  He continued fishing in the lock approach and did not want to move!!


Next time you venture out on the water, don't cut them off, they really don't want to run you over.   But, there is only so much they can do with a package that large and they don't have brakes!  On a scale of 1 – 10, give this trip a 11!