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Smartphone App that shows barge traffic.

 
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svantuyl



Joined: 15 Jun 2001
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:46 pm    Post subject: Smartphone App that shows barge traffic. Reply with quote

Some of you might like to know that There are Apps available for Apple, Android, and Microsoft smart phones, which show you where barges are on the Columbia River, their speed, and the direction of travel. This is particularly useful at places like Celilo and Rufus, where you wouldn't otherwise have much warning of barges coming from the East. I use the Marine Traffic App on my iPhone to check for barges before I launch. I will attach a screenshot of a barge near Avery, headed toward Celilo.

The App that I use is Marine Traffic (https://www.marinetraffic.com). The app works just about anywhere with large commercial and pleasure craft. I do not work for them, and get no compensation other than the ability to get good information. I recommend trying the App and getting the word out to others that share the river.

Radio Site needed- If anyone out there lives in the area of Rufus, Maryhill, or Wishram we could use another radio site. One of the radio sites used by this service is no longer available in that stretch of the river. That leaves a hole from John Day Dam to just west of the railroad bridge at Celilo. Marin Traffic would supply the radio and antenna. The person or entity hosting the site would need to have power and an always on Internet connection available.

Please PM me if you are interested in hosting a site. I will forward information and provide help, if needed.

Here is a link to a U.S. Coastguard web page that explains how the system works:

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=AISworks



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bexter



Joined: 27 Dec 1999
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Marine Traffic with an Android phone and it works very well! Hopefully we can find someone to host a site to fill in this area of the Columbia River!
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johnl



Joined: 05 Jun 1994
Posts: 1324
Location: Hood River OR

PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While apps are cool I wonder what use it is. If you see a barge coming on the app, would you not still rig and hit the water? (yes you can still sail when barges are in the water in wider sections). Or would you not go windsurfing? And when you are on the water, I don't think you would have your phone to warn you of a barge coming.

So while it might be cool to "check it out" I don't see what usefulness it would have to the typical gorge sailor.....
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GarryW



Joined: 11 Mar 2001
Posts: 152

PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's also dependent on the vessel having it's AIS on. From what I understand it's not required and isn't always used.
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hrwindsurfing



Joined: 29 May 2007
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The site is great for a heads up, but found many barges did not have the AIS on, and that wasn't worth it. Found it was great for the following non-wind activity. Check the site for incoming barges to Bonneville Dam, it gives you the speed they are traveling. Confirm with the cameras (Stevenson or Hatch Cams), as you want the double wide and double long barges. Drive to Bonneville and watch them clear the locks! One crew member on the front and you can watch them enter with less than one foot of clearance on each side. You are right up close and see how insignificant you are, as the raise or lower. This is only available during the summer between Memorial Day to Labor Day, and closes around 4pm, so better to arrive before 2:30 pm. The visitors center is only manned by a volunteer, so they like to go home on time. There is armed security that stops every vehicle that enters. It's well worth it!
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svantuyl



Joined: 15 Jun 2001
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments. We have been sailing the river for years with no apps to see the barges. At most launch sites, all you need to do is look up and down the river before you launch, and while on the water. Where I have found the app most useful, is at Celilo. At Celilo, you can't see barges coming from East until you launch, and sometimes they are RIGHT THERE.

My wife and I got started using the app to satisfy our curiosity about coastal traffic, then we figured out it worked for showing barges on the Columbia.

The app worked very well last year at Celilo, but we now have a blind spot between Celilo and John Day Dam, right where it is most useful to see around the blind corner. To fill in that blind spot, it would be nice to find another radio site in the area of Rufus, Maryhill, or Wishram.
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johnl



Joined: 05 Jun 1994
Posts: 1324
Location: Hood River OR

PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hrwindsurfing wrote:
The site is great for a heads up, but found many barges did not have the AIS on, and that wasn't worth it. Found it was great for the following non-wind activity. Check the site for incoming barges to Bonneville Dam, it gives you the speed they are traveling. Confirm with the cameras (Stevenson or Hatch Cams), as you want the double wide and double long barges. Drive to Bonneville and watch them clear the locks! One crew member on the front and you can watch them enter with less than one foot of clearance on each side. You are right up close and see how insignificant you are, as the raise or lower. This is only available during the summer between Memorial Day to Labor Day, and closes around 4pm, so better to arrive before 2:30 pm. The visitors center is only manned by a volunteer, so they like to go home on time. There is armed security that stops every vehicle that enters. It's well worth it!


Now THAT would be useful (I don't know why I didn't think of it). Especially when I have visitors. Watching the barges in the locks is always cool.....
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