After Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, Adam and I were the only menfolk in the house, and we were bored, so we went down to the parkfront in Gallipolis, Ohio, to see a boat go by. It was a Crounse boat, and to no one's surprise the coal in the barges was piled high. The lead barges of a 15-barge tow sat about 11 feet in the water. The back barges drew only nine feet.
But the barges in the middle of the tow were weighed down most. The "11" on the side was covered, and it looked like the gunwales were only a few inches above the water. Adam and I talked about how difficult it must be to steer a boat downstream like that, including how much distance you would need to stop it.
That's why pilots make big money, I guess.