Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Mobile River Access?

Newly poured concrete of a boat ramp at the Mobile Convention Center. Public Boater access to Mobile River in downtown Mobile has been non-existent up until now. The Mobile City Council apparently saw fit to approve this boat ramp at the Convention Center by a parking area that is usually empty. I have long said the small unused always trashy shoreline at the Convention Center was a wasted City waterfront asset.

The BIG question is whether this new boat ramp will be open for public use or whether this boat ramp on City of Mobile property is strictly for the use of Duck Tour boats... If the public is not allowed to use the boat ramp the Mobile Convention Center shoreline will continue to be a wasted waterfront asset. [Update: A City official confirmed the new boat ramp is NOT allowed to be used by the Public.]

Speaking of Duck Tour boats, it will be interesting to see if Duck Tour Boat use in Mobile will be successful. In Boston, Duck Tour boats (amphibious vehicles that operate both on land and in the water) operate in the sheltered area of the Charles River meaning pretty smooth rides.

Duck Tour Boats in Mobile will be operating between Battleship Park and the Convention Center. I assume the Duck Tour boats will be going around Choctaw Point to get up into Mobile River. That is an area often quite choppy due to the interaction of water current in Mobile River meeting typical winds out of the south being channeled up into Mobile River.

Plus, barges and boats sometimes leave sizeable wakes in Mobile River. Since the shoreline of most of Mobile River in the downtown area is bulkheaded, wake waves reflect off bulkheads and each other causing quite a washboard like chop at times. 

From what I have read, the freeboard on Duck Tour Boats can be as little as a foot high. In that case, high waves can come crashing into the boat soaking people. Can large amounts of water crashing inside a Duck Tour boat sink it?

Plus I read where Duck Tour Boats are slow boats barely able to do 5 mph. The water Current coming down Mobile River can be as strong as several mph after heavy upstream rains meaning it could be tough for the Duck Tour boats to even go up Mobile River.

My pessimism predicts the soon to open Duck Tour Boat venture in Mobile will have some disasterous times ahead. Or it will be a money losing venture as people write bad reviews. Who wants to wait for 20 minutes for a parked train to move in order for the Duck Boat to get into downtown Mobile to do its land based tour? To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. Hmmmm, duck boat tours in the Mobile River? Really? I'd much rather be on a duck boat in the Charles River in Boston. Can't feature amphibious vehicles in Mobile. Not now, not ever.


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