ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Motor Vessel Stephen L. Colby locked through Lock and Dam 2, near Hastings, Minnesota, today around 6 a.m. She was pushing 12 barges en route to St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Corps considers the first tow to arrive at Lock and Dam 2, as the unofficial start of the navigation season, because it means all of its locks are accessible to commercial and recreational vessels. The earliest date for an up-bound tow to reach Lock and Dam 2 was March 4, in 1983, 1984 and 2000. The average start date of the navigation season is March 22.
The Corps would also like to remind boaters to “share the road.” Commercial towboats with barges are less maneuverable and take longer to stop than recreation boats. Before getting underway, boaters should also know their boat and know the rules of the road:
· Take a safe boating course and check your boat for all required safety equipment;
· Consider the size of the boat, number of passengers and the amount of equipment you have;
· Wear your life jacket, don’t just carry it on board – events can happen quickly;
· Leave alcohol behind to increase your safety and decrease your risk;
· Check the weather forecast; and
· File a float plan with a friend or family member.
The first tow to reach Lock and Dam 2 in 2016 was the M/V Ronald Wagonblast. She was locked through March 13, 2016.
The St. Paul District maintains a 9-foot navigation channel and operates 12 locks and dams to support navigation from Minneapolis to Guttenberg, Iowa. Keeping this system open is vital to the nation’s economy. The commercial navigation industry estimates an annual average savings of nearly $270 million by using the inland waterways instead of overland shipping methods.
The nearly 600 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the St. Paul District Fiscal Year 2016 $78 million budget, nearly 1,250 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $120 million to the national economy. For more information, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.
Release no. 17-023