Here are some photos that show what we've been doing, with both locks and bridges!
The Winnie W has 18 feet of "air draft" with the mast up and when our antennas are lowered (our antennas are ~17 feet long, mounted on the side of the pilothouse, and would add about 10 feet additional "air draft" if not lowered); we can get down to 12 feet in height if we also lower our mast. The vertical clearance signboard at each bridge varies with the tides and water levels, and can be used to predict if a boat will fit under the bridge (see photo). Nonetheless, it's a bit of a nail-biter as we go under bridges. Sometimes the bridges are "fixed" (don't open) or the period between openings is so long that it is worth lowering the mast and going through (under) the bridge before the next opening.
Kathie is usually the one who watches as we go under the bridge. Even if we realize that we cannot make it under the bridge, there are certain situations, such as when the current is behind us (carrying us along) when it would be impossible to stop. The best situation is when we go through a bridge with the current against us, because the current might hold us off the bridge if we decided we needed to stop to avoid hitting the bridge or the sturdy structures around the bridge. See the phot looking at the underneath of the bridge as we go underneath; it often looks like we will hit even if the math indicates that we will fit underneath!!
Last week, we went through Lock #1 at Troy NY where these photos were taken. We are about to go through 22 more locks on the Erie Canal before we reach the western side of Syracuse when we enter the Oswego Canal which has 8 locks.
Kathie tending the lines. There are 6 different types of locks, and before each lock, it is helpful to know about the type of attachment to the lock wall so you can prepare lines of appropriate length and fenders to protect the boat.
You can see that this doesn't bother Doug!
Best wishes, Kathie and Doug