Tow to transit Lake Pepin, opening up the head of navigation on the Mississippi

Written by Marine Log Staff
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M/V Miss Doris locks through Lock and Dam 10 upbound March 15, 2020. M/V Miss Doris originated in the Quad Cities and was the first tow to enter the St. Paul District for the 2020 navigation season. (Photo: USACE)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Paul District reports that Marquette Transportation Company’s M/V Miss Doris, originating from the Quad Cities in Iowa and Illinois and pushing 12 barges en route to St. Paul, Minnesota, is expected to transit Lake Pepin, later today or early tomorrow.

Located between the Minnesota cities of Red Wing and Wabasha, Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River is the last major barrier for vessels reaching the head of the navigation channel in St. Paul, Minnesota. The lake is the last part of the river to break up, because the river is wider and subsequently the current is slower there than it is at other reaches of the river. If a tow can make it through Lake Pepin, it can make it all the way to St. Paul.

The St. Paul District maintains a 9-foot navigation channel and operates 12 locks and dams to support navigation from Minneapolis to Guttenberg, Iowa.

The Corps is reminding boaters to “share the road.” Commercial towboats with barges are less maneuverable and take longer to stop than recreational boats. They also cannot move out of the main channel of the river. Before getting underway boaters should consider:

  • Taking a safe boating course
  • Wearing a life jacket at all times
  • Leaving alcohol behind to reduce risk
  • Checking the forecast
  • Filing a float plan with a friend or family member
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