Notice to Navigators: Upper Mississippi River and Illinois River

Coast Guard updates for Industry


As info…

Jeremy “Shot” Tardy
Western Rivers Boat Management, Inc.
Office:  270.444.4772
Mobile:  270.933.8056

I wanted to give you an update for the Coast Guard’s spring opening plans and current challenges we are facing.  We started spring opening runs with SCIOTO on the UMR from mile 363.5 down to 300, GASCONADE from UMR mile 176.8 down to 109.9, and PATHFINDER assisted from UMR mile 176.8 to 300.  Other preparations are in process as the ice recedes further north for WYACONDA to run from 580 to 857.5 to include the Minnesota and St Croix Rivers, GASCONADE can begin servicing buoys up to Kansas City as flow support is restored to the Missouri River, and SANGAMON will service the Illinois River as she wraps up a Main Engine overhaul.  We have been using a MSIB to consolidate all buoy discrepancy reports; as the tenders begin clearing those discrepancies, they are removed from the list.  Please encourage the reporting of buoy discrepancies so we can get them identified and corrected.

Plans for the next few weeks:

PATHFINDER is departing tomorrow to survey UMR mile 289 and relocate buoys as necessary.  SCIOTO is planning on departing Monday the 21st to run from Keokuk up to Dubuque.  GASCONADE is planning on departing on Mar 28th to begin the Missouri River run.

Other scheduled events and issues:

WYACONDA has a Ready-for-Operations (RFO) assessment scheduled for Mar 28th thru 30th and is planning on starting their opening run on Mar 31st.  WYACONDA is currently not-mission-capable due to an issue with the port engine.  During light offs last week a metallic noise was noticed on the engine. An investigation found broken teeth on the ring gear and starter.  Additional inspections revealed fuel dilution in the oil and scoring on some cylinders.  Not sure if those were preexisting conditions.  A tech rep will be onboard Monday to fix the ring gear and starter issue as well as check the engine over for other maintenance needed.  This inspection will let us know if the engine is in need of an overhaul ASAP or if it can wait.

SCIOTO has been running with leaking keel coolers since last fall.  The issue requires a drydock to fix which we couldn’t do over the winter so we decided to keep them operational thru opening runs.  The drydock is tentatively scheduled for April 18th, hopefully in Dubuque.  After SCIOTO’s ATON run next week to Dubuque, she will next depart for that drydock which is roughly a 10 day period.

SANGAMON is currently in a dockside maintenance period for engine overhauls which is schedule to finish on March 30th.  She was the last one of SUMR’s cutters to get this service completed over the winter.  SANGAMON has a RFO scheduled for Apr 5th thru 7th and is planning on beginning her first run on Apr 11th to set lighted buoys in Lake Peoria and then resupply and run south to Grafton on the 12th.  SANGAMON is working to rectify a barge crane issue where the crane drifts and will not hold a load or pass a weight test.  The crew has been consulting with tech reps and our support product line to identify the cause and affect repairs.  It is unknown right now on how long this will take or what the operational impact may be.

GASCONADE has a RFO scheduled for Apr 25th thru 27th after she completes the Missouri River run.

CHEYENNE has a Shakedown Cruise Assessment on Monday, Mar 21st and is planning on departing drydock in Memphis shortly after and should be back in STL the 28th.  She is planning on completing a south trip to Chester on April 12th.   The OIC is retiring on April 20th and will be temporarily relieved by Chief Jim Ford who is a prior CHEYENNE and GASCONADE sailor until the permanent OIC, Master Chief Tom Hines can report in July.

I will be at a conference next week but you can reach out to me or LCDR Steph Moore with comments and concerns.


BOSN4 Rich Berg
Sector Upper Mississippi River
ATON Officer