Adding a car float to the layout

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by Ralph, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    Port= left. Four letters in each.
    Starboard = right.
    Channel markers and lights =Red, right side, returning from sea.
    Another, remember "port wine" is red.
    My deckhands still, after two years of doing it, still get the lights on the wrong side of the barge occasionally. I keep telling them, "Look back at the tug, put the lights on the same sides as on the tug". They still get it wrong sometimes! lol
    What really throws them is the running lights on other vessels. If you know the lights, you can tell the type, size, direction, aspect, and operating characteristics of the other vessels.
  2. zedob

    zedob Member

    I heard somewhere that the starboard was what they called the rudders a long time ago when they were mounted on the side, hence, starboard side. Is that true?

    I also learned to differenciate the two by "star-bright...starboard right". Hey, it stuck.
  3. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    That's correct. The term started out as steering board. The side hung rudders were very fragile. Always docking with the rudders on the side away from the dock was the practice to protect them. Thus, the left side became known as the port side. The side always placed to the dock. Another bit of trivia to go with it. The captains cabin is, to this day, generally on the starboard side of the vessel. This was done so that the captains' cabin was quieter and cooler so he could sleep better when in port. Captains are technically on duty 24 hours a day when at sea. They only got a chance to get a little uninterupted sleep when in port. At least that is the idea. My experience has been to get less sleep when in port than at sea. At sea, there is a regular routinue. Being in port, generally all is chaos. Refueling, loading supplies, doing repairs, and crews arriving and departing. It's especially bad when we have to do what we call a "turn and burn". No one on board gets any sleep for from 24 to 36 hours. Then it's off to sea and standing a watch while dead on your feet. The Coasties are finally recognising this problem and changing the regulations. Now, you are required to have had at least 6 hours sleep in the previous 24 hours before you can stand a watch. I just wish it always worked out that way. lol

    The star bright nemonic is one I haven't heard before. It's another to add to the list.
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Capt. Turk, thanks for the input from some one who works with tugs and barges! I appreciate your ideas for making the scene more realistic since I had just a couple of pictures and my imagination as a guide. Yeah, the white water in some places is somewhat unlikely but I use it to hide the seams where boats and water meet, especially on the tug which is removable.

    It would be great if you'd draw a sketch of the details you mentioned. Thanks! By the way, I have a small spot in my water about the diameter of a pencil that didn't take the pigment and looks white. I'd like to disguise it by covering it with an appropriate bouy or something. Any ideas for what would be best near a car float?

    Thaks again!
  5. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    I'm not at home now. Don't have access to many of my photos, but here's one that might give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

    The photo is of a deck barge. As to size, it's 72' wide and 280' long. The pic was taken out of the pilothouse windows in the Intercoastal Canal in Freeport, Tx.
    You can see the cavelles spaced down the sides of the barge. It doesn't show the bollards very well. Ral car floats are really not much more than modified deck barges.
    When I get home I'll try to get you some more pics with much better detail.

  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    My father taught me that strboard/right/green are longer words than port/left/red. I still have to think about it a second, but then, I don't do anything where it would be critical.
  7. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member


    Just got home where I have a scanner. You could put a dolphin breaking the surface to cover the spot. Bouys are not usually placed close to where barges and tugs are manuvering. I've taken out a few bouys, myself. lol
  8. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    I got the drawing of the tug backwards. It should face the other direction and on the other end.
    Rail barges are towed on a towline unless the distance they need to go is very short. When coming to the dock, the tug pulls in the towline short and then flips around on the bow of the barge. This puts the tug bow to stern of the barge. The towline is not usually disconnected, but left rigged so the barge can be quickly put back under tow. The towline is also used as the stern line on the tug a lot of the time. Towing, or pushing a barge like this is called "hip towing".
  9. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Thanks for the drawings Capt.! I better understand what the bollards and the cavels are like. Should be easy to model and then add cables. So you mean my tug is facing the wrong way!?! Nuts! Oh well. As it turns out I don't know many tug boat or barge workers so no one will call me on it. :) Interesting stuff though to know about real tug operations and I thank you. Maybe I'll put a small fishing boat or something over that bare spot in lieu of a Hudson River dolphin! :)
  10. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    Your tug is facing the right way. It could go alittle farther back on the barge, but is sometimes prototypical. What I mean't was that the tug in my drawing is on the wrong end, and facing the wrong direction. The rail barges I've towed are always docked stern to the ramp. The alignment notches on the barge have always been on the stern of the barge. The bow of the barge will typicaly have a splash plate or guard that keeps any waves that break over the bow of the barge from derailing the cars. On deep ocean going rail barges the splash plate will be almost as high as the car tops. For inland, it would be only as high as the deck in the cars. Different barge construction for different routes and conditions.
    New York has in the past had many rail barges operating back and forth from Jersey to Mnahatten and Brooklyn. There was once extensive rail barge traffic going to the Brooklyn Naval Yard. Google searches will turn up a fair amount of info about it. There is alot of talk about doing it again to relieve some of the truck traffic in the city.
    The running lights are usually mounted on poles about 4-6' tall with light boards.

    For awhile, I towed a 480' by 80' rail barge from Mobile Ala. to Ponce Puerto Rico. It carried 28 tank cars. The trip down to P.R. we carried the syrup to make Coca- Cola. The trip back was always empty cars.
  11. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    The small boat would be "VERY" prototypical. They are always getting in the way. I've had too many small boats to count pass between me and the dock when I was trying to dock a barge. They don't seem to realize just how dangerous it is, and how much of a problem it gives the tug captain. When you are docking a barge, you have to set your aproach speed to arrive at the dock just as you come to a stop. There is just too much mass there to stop it quickly. When someone cuts between the barge and the dock, the tug has to back down hard to try to stop the barge in case the small boat stops between the barge and the dock. The tug, being on the side of the barge, when it backs will twist the barge loosing the alignment. Most of the time, you have to back away, and start again. What's really fun is when some goof ball cuts between the barge and the dock and stops and ties up where you're trying to dock the barge. I've had a couple of times that I had to twist the barge so that the bow of the barge crashed into the dock to keep from crushing the small boat. Once, I managed to stop the barge only about 3 feet away from the small boat. I would have crushed him like a bug if I hadn't been able to stop it in time. Several years ago, there was a 60' sailboat that was popped like a pimple in the Panama Canal in just that kind of situation.
    A barge can range from 500 to 5,000 tons. Pilings snap like toothpicks, and docks are seriously damaged, if you aren't at almost a dead stop when come up against them. So, on your layout, if you want to be prototypical, break some of your pilings, break off chunks of dock, have pilings and docks falling down in the water like they have been hit by a barge or ship. lol Especially if you are modeling the docks on the Hudson river. They won't fix them till the damn thing falls completely down in the water.
  12. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    If you're modeling the Hudson River, the white spot could easily just be trash or maybe a dead body! lol
  13. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I REALLY appreciate your prototypical info and experiences. They help make my car float scene come alive for me. I'll be working on the details you've suggested. I think I will put a small boat over that white spot although I do like the idea of masking it with the floating body of Vinnie (Vinne the LPB) Bompamsario. :) Hopefully the pilot of the small water craft won't be an idiot like some you've mentioned and will steer clear of the barge and tug. It amazes me to learn how stupid people can be. I think if I saw you coming I'd give you wide berth! Thanks again for your stories and background info!
    Have safe days on the water!
  14. jmarksbery

    jmarksbery Active Member

    :thumb: Great modeling Ralph and great info Capt. I really look forward on getting more of each. I also plan a car float on down the road and as a land lubber need both the sight and sound. Thanks both of you. Going down for the third time :confused: Jim

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