Little Details

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Parts of a barge and deckhand duties
kathleenbradean wrote in little_details
The vessel I'm seeking information on is a modern day dry cargo barge on the Mississippi

Correct terms would be most welcome.

When they get to a dock and take on or leave cargo, what is the name of the section holding the cargo? (Individual containers and the entire flat or barge or whatever it's called that the containers are on.)

How are those sections lashed to the rest of the barge. I think it's by cables, but I can't find a schematic for how it works. Do those cables run below deck, above? How often do they have to tighten or check them?

I'd also love any other information that can give this color. The MC will be a deckhand, so his job duties and the tools/machines he uses would be of great interest. Also: living quarters.

Thank you in advance.

I was directed here by a member of this community and a dear friend, she thought that I might be able to help. I am a writer as well, but besides that I am also an employee of a Barge company here in the US.

I’m gonna answer the direct questions, and then give you some more info

Transfers are called Loads and Discharges.

Sections holding the cargo: liquid cargo is held in tanks usually 3 or 6 [in this case they are in sections of 2, 1 starboard and 1 port]. Dry Cargo is usually held in a ‘Hopper’ just a big open expanse either covered or not. What the containers are actually on is the deck.

Securing the containers. If you are talking about containers, like the ones that are on trains, then they are secured by cables [metal] or lines [synthetic] as well as being designed to slide into grooves on one and other, think like a puzzle. The lines are above deck, and to secure containers, and run through wenches to tighten them. The lines are checked daily, there should be no slack in them period. In the case of containers, they are checked as well to make sure they are not breaking up [the actual container breaking] but this is rare on the river.

Daily duties and goings ons:
While 'under way' there will be little going on with the actual barges, though the 'lines' are checked to make sure they are secure. Other wise there is daily maintenance that is taken care of on the tugs. Painting and chipping [chipping is done by a pneumatic needle gun] but referred to as just chipping and makes a god awful noise that resonates through bone and especially through metal making it impossible to sleep. You chip rust so that you can paint over the newly made raw areas to prevent further rust. There is further obviously cleaning, sweeping, mopping, menial stuff. Also, just like checking a car engine, there are usually two engines on a small push boat ranging from 1000 horsepower to 8000 hp, though river boats are usually the bigger ones ranging from 6000-8000hp, they are really nice!

Schedule:
You have a 'Front Watch' and a 'Back Watch' the front watch 0600 - 1800 and the back watch obviously go from 1800-0600. Usually they stay on this schedule unless a relief is coming on and won't be able to start up with the same schedule and so you shift to back watch, or front watch. You can only work 12 hrs per day, other wise OSHA and other fun agencies get upset as well as unions.

Living quarters:
On the bigger boats, its usually 2 to a room, course the crew is usually only number at about 4 or 5 [1 captain, 1 relief captain or wheelman and 2-3 deck hands who double as Tankerman if needed] The rooms are pretty bare a double bunk and maybe a fold out desk as well as lockers for belongings. There is usually storage under the bunks as well where you lift up the mattress and mattress board and there is a half foot deep storage under the entire bed, think of a chest on the back of a truck, held up by stays which can be faulty at times. You got your galley which is of course the kitchen and social area, usually with a TV. It is a fully equipped kitchen, but everything is bolted down. and when I say everything I mean everything, it is s booth type set up for the tables so that nothing will shift while under way.

Lines:
‘Making tow’ describes putting the barges and boat together. On the boat the lines are attached to wenches and ‘make up to’ the first anchor barge, the lines [thick wire cables] attach to cavel [a metal fitting with two projecting horns, around which a line may be made fast] one on each corner of the barge. These are called face wires because they go from boat to barge. Securing lines are those that secure a barge to another barge, the lines secure around bollards [either a single or double post on a vessel or wharf to which lines are secured] that are dispersed equal distances down the length of the barge.

I don’t know if I have given you enough or too much. My email is eascull@gmail.com if you need clarification or more info.

This is wonderful!

I (finally!) found a site called Rivers and Terms that filled me in on a lot of information and terms, but not what you've given me. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much that helps filling in the gaps.

KB

Oh Good! And I'm glad you found a site, I would give you some of my companies, but they are all protected.

If you need anything else, just let me know.

HARD TO SURVIVE AND PAY BILLS AND TAKE CARE OF WIFE. IM A OTR DRIVER BUT DONT MAKE THE BILLS. 13 YRS. 52 YRS OLD. WANTING AND NEEDING A FRESH START. HARD WORKER & WILLING & WANTING TO LEARN. AM HONEST NON SMOKING NON DRINKING CHRISTIAN MAN. NEVER TOUCHED DRUGS. NEED TO KNOW HOW TO GET ON NEAR ST LOUIS MO R WEST PLAINS MO AREA. WHAT IS PAY N WHAT IS HOMETIME N WHAT WILL I NEED. THANK YOU. KEVIN

JUST POSTED ABOVE MY EMAIL IS kevinwright95@yahoo.com
thank you