Raft down the Mississippi

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by qwist04, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. qwist04
    Joined: Jan 2005
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Twin Cities, MN

    qwist04 Junior Member

    My friends and I are planning on rafting down the Mississippi River (starting where the St. Croix River empties into the Mississipppi, just south of the Twin Cities in MN) to St. Louis, MO. There are four of us, and we plan on using paddles for "power". Could anyone offer me some help, or point to where I can find some? Also, would it be possible to attach a sail, or would that probably be too much work?
     
  2. Dutch Peter
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 645
    Likes: 7, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 66
    Location: The Netherlands

    Dutch Peter Senior Member

    Try serching the internet for a local store that sells boat equipment, they'll have paddles and oars.
    Yes, it's possible to attach a sail on a inflatable raft, won't be big but anything helps.

    See this site: http://sailboatstogo.thetradeslist.com/
     
  3. qwist04
    Joined: Jan 2005
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Twin Cities, MN

    qwist04 Junior Member

    Wow, i just realized that my last post was very poorly phrased. We have the paddles, but we were planning on building the raft ourselves (with wood, possibly styrofoam, barrels or tires for additional floatation). I was wondering if anyone knows of the best method to accomplish this. Thanks for your help with the sail, Dutch
     
  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 13,371
    Likes: 329, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    I believe they don't allow non powered vessels through the locks.
     
  5. duluthboats
    Joined: Mar 2002
    Posts: 1,585
    Likes: 43, Points: 58, Legacy Rep: 779
    Location: Minneapolis,MN, USA

    duluthboats Senior Dreamer

    I’ve been through dams 1-7 in a canoe, 5 and 5a dozens of times in canoe or kayak. From the cities to southern Iowa it’s a nice river, south of that it’s mostly a barge canal running through some great country. I would not recommend a raft on the commercial part of the river. A good raft trip is from Winnie to St Cloud. A trip like that will teach you a lot before you go messing with barge traffic, bad currents, and head winds in large open areas like Pepin. Go in the late spring when the water is high but below flood stage. If you start north of Winnie, you’ll have to deal with beaver dams. Which are harder to pass than the Army Corp ones.

    Gary :D
     
  6. WoodButcher
    Joined: Jan 2005
    Posts: 19
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Midwest USA

    WoodButcher Junior Member

    I would suggest that you try some "local", short
    trips before you start-out on this voyage.

    Every summer brings a fresh crop of
    "Huck Finn wannabes" to the Mississippi,
    most of whom manage to survive.

    But some don't; yes, some die trying
    this sort of thing.

    You need to fully understand the workings
    of locks, dams, and commercial traffic to
    safely make this kind of trip.

    I used to be a Mississippi river towboat pilot,
    and still am involved in the commercial towing
    industry, and I am not amiss when I say that
    we all dread the coming of summer and the
    '"rafters," most of whom have no concept
    of how to safely navigate on the river.

    It's enough to give you an ulcer.
     
  7. lobsterman
    Joined: Mar 2004
    Posts: 64
    Likes: 4, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 24
    Location: Maine

    lobsterman Junior Member

    woodbutcher...i agree, i had about the same thoughts on this topic. i can't believe that people would actually consider doing this, not only are they risking their own lives but also the lives of others transiting the river, if they think they can't afford a real boat now, wait til they get hit with the bills for the liabillity for the damages that they are going to cause. that is if they even survive at all.

    dreaming of doing it is ok, but don't actually consider going thru with it.

    the people who are actually considering doing this would probably be better off going over Niagra falls in a barrel, that way the only person that they kill will be themselves.
     
  8. kapnD
    Joined: Jan 2003
    Posts: 467
    Likes: 32, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 40
    Location: hawaii, usa

    kapnD Senior Member

    Dont forget that the people that made this great nation out of a wilderness tried and suceeded in some "damnfool adventures". Life without risk is a waste of time. I'd love to raft down America's great rivers, and would expect those who ply the same waters for profit to co-operate. Its like riding a bicycle down the highway. Not the safest thing to do, but possible, legal, and frequently done. I fully agree with Woodbutcher that one should do their homework before trying it. As for the original post, I would think that a quiet 4-stroke outboard would be worth many paddles!
     
  9. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 13,371
    Likes: 329, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    kapnD:
    those who ply th water for porfit have deep draft vessels. Therefore, the right of way. If you have a magic way of stopping a barge train in less than two miles it would be interesting to know.
     
  10. kapnD
    Joined: Jan 2003
    Posts: 467
    Likes: 32, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 40
    Location: hawaii, usa

    kapnD Senior Member

    Gonzo, I recognize the very real danger of the idea, but wouldn't let that stop me. Certainly the barge trains have the "right of way", but no single faction should have the exclusive "right" to the use of the waterway. We have a similar situation here where a fuel transfer station has been erected offshore right over my favorite fishing grounds. Now its illegal to transit within several hundred yards of the area, much less drop the hook for some fishing. Who owns the "rights" to mother nature?
     
  11. lobsterman
    Joined: Mar 2004
    Posts: 64
    Likes: 4, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 24
    Location: Maine

    lobsterman Junior Member

    drifting aimlessly down the river, that is whats dangerous ( paddles don't cut it ), but if you had even just a kicker motor, follow the rules of the road, and abide by the CG safety regs there would be no problem. "it does not matter whether your commercial or recreational", i do not believe thats the issue here, the safety of all of the people transiting the river and the safety of those that have to come to your rescue is. you must have the abilty to give way or avoid eminant dander in order to save your own life :^)
     
  12. stuckinanoffice
    Joined: Mar 2005
    Posts: 1
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Chcago

    stuckinanoffice New Member

    I'm with Capt'nD on this one. This country has enough people living their lives in front of the tv. We've become a nation of risk managers, not risk takers.

    For some reason I've had this idea of "setting out for the territories" on a home made raft. There was on PBS a documentary about a group of guys who rafted down the Yukon River. Their raft was quite the production too.

    There a site that tells the strory of some kids who rafted down the Mississippi: http://personal.mykka.com/gallery/mississippi

    They made it. The people they met along the way loved it. They got thru the locks. Seemed the lockmasters even got a kick out of em. And when they're on their death bed, they can look back and say they did it.

    Cool forum.
     
  13. asathor
    Joined: Oct 2004
    Posts: 154
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Minnesota

    asathor Senior Member

    built yourself a boatlike vessel.

    I think you should consider at least building a boatlike vessel so you have some maneuverability. Having sailed lake Peppin and St Croix I know that there are a lot of tight spots where you don't want to be unable to get around the barges. The current always takes the long way so it may fling you across the river or leave you stranded on the inside of a curve.

    Something with 4 oars, a couple of leeboards and a sail would make sense since you could row it with enough power to get out of the way. Sailing in itself is not enough because the wind tends to bend at least some in the direction of the river - a tacking duel in a headwind on a busy river might be an adventure but not for very long. As far as I recall we got a lot of days with the wind out of the south on Peppin.

    You can count on your rowing but not on the wind. You can also count on finding misc. submerged stuff so you want a smooth bottom.

    Use whatever materials but make it a boat.
     
  14. amazonhippie
    Joined: Nov 2005
    Posts: 1
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Bentonville, AR

    amazonhippie New Member

    It is dangerous, but not THAT dangerous. You can take any vessel (that fits) through the locks. You should have a motor to get out of the barge's way. REMEMBER: When you're in the middle of a giant river, you can't tell how fast you or others are moving. I believe that anything over 10 hp. must be liscensed. So, get a 9.5 hp. or less. i'm looking for someone to raft the mississippi with me. I've paddled the lower part in a canoe, but I want to do the entire length on a homade raft. If you're interested post a reply.
     

  15. trimarandan
    Joined: Nov 2005
    Posts: 12
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: San Diego, CA

    trimarandan Junior Member

    my best sugestion would be to make a canoe style boat, something easy to carry.

    a good friend of mine did the entire river solo, it took him 2 months, he started a few miles from lake Itasica after the river gets big enough to allow it and just went from there. if you just stay alert and not do anything rediculas you'll be ok but if your getting in over your head you can always just paddel to the side and rethink your plan, i'm sure you didnt need me to tell you that anyway. i hope you have a good trip and i'd look foward to hear how the whole expearince went for you.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.