Three Common Dangers Facing Travelers on the Mississippi River

Barge Injuries Sep 28, 2020

The Mississippi River is the second-longest river on the North American continent bordering or passing through Arkansas, Mississippi, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana.  This famous river can be divided into three main sections: the Upper Mississippi, the Middle Mississippi, and the Lower Mississippi.  

Unfortunately, although the Mississippi River is a popular source of transportation for cargo on barges, it has experienced significant pollution and environmental problems over the years.  Additionally, many dangers lurk below and above this waterway, causing dangerous perils for thousands of voyagers traveling up and down the Mississippi each year. Below, our Mississippi barge injury lawyer discusses three tips to avoid dangerous perils that await Mississippi River voyagers. 

Beware of Hazardous Twists and Turns on the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River has stretches of high and low water that have made the passage up and down this river treacherous for travelers.  Especially when the river floods, it can create an aquatic obstacle course for travelers, creating current traps and sandbars that cut into the main navigation channel. Mississippi voyagers should be prepared for these twists and turns along their trip. 

Watch for Dangerous and Rapid Currents

Sometimes the Mississippi River’s current is traveling at a high velocity.  Dangerous currents can cause vessels to lose control and collide with other boats or even bridges and embankments, severely damaging vessels and causing injuries to workers, passengers, and even bystanders. 

Be Prepared for Changing Water Levels

The Mississippi River’s water levels can frequently change, causing changes in currents that may not be immediately noticeable to barge operators transporting cargo on the Mississippi River. High waters can produce currents that move large debris like logs, trees, and other large debris, while low waters can produce other hazards, such as sandbars. 

Before departing on a voyage on the Mississippi River, barge operators should use the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron’s Vessel Safety Check Service to check items such as safety equipment, visual distress signals, fire extinguishers, navigation lights, and more. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that many of the boating fatalities in the United States could have been prevented if individuals aboard a vessel were properly wearing their life jackets.

Below are some additional safety resources from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration: 

Seek Legal Guidance From Our Mississippi Barge Injury Lawyer Today

The Willis Law Firm assists workers and their families who suffer from maritime-related injuries.  Have you or a loved one been injured while on a barge traveling on the Mississippi River?  If so, give us a call at 1-800-468-4878 email us through our online webform to find out more about your legal rights and options.

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