Dangers Of Low-Head Dams!!!

Discussion in 'LOCAL OHIO TALK' started by catfishrollo, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    It's a sad situation every year, people lose their lives due to neglect and a lack of education on the dangers of low-head dams. Low-head dams have gained the nickname over the years of being a "drowning machine" for a reason. There design and structure causes a "hydro effect", that often keeps anything and sometimes everything that comes within close area pulled up against it. I think the biggest problem with low-head dams is the lack of respect for what they can do, or how they look. I myself, had an encounter one time when my anchor pulled loose and the boat wouldn't start. The boat got caught in the back current, and was heading back towards the dam. Let me tell you, you gain respect quickly when you have no control of where you are heading! Anyways, these back currents that are created by the water coming over the dam may look harmless, but they have a drastic rolling effect that will most of the time suck anyone under and not allow you to swim free from your own! There are many different sizes of these dams, and they all have different visual effects. However, they for the most part all have some similaries, and all are extremely dangerous! So, please don't get too comfortable with these areas , and please do respect them if you fish around them! There ain't no fish worth your life, and no sense in chancing safety for no apparent reason! Goodluck and stay safe!!! Here is a little news video attached that I found that may set the importance of respect for them and goes well with this post....rollo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPaCXSwjLA4&feature=related
     
  2. Bambu

    Bambu New Member

    Messages:
    244
    State:
    S.C.
    thanks for the info, i use to do some whitewater kayaking and learned quickly that moving water will kill you fast if your not carefull. if you do find yourself caught in a hydrolic curl into a ball, the less surface area the better , dont try to fight it or swim or stand up it will only make it worse remember curl up. once your out of the hydrolic, feet downstream and always stay upstream of the boat or large floating debris it can push you under or pin you with tremendous force. always be carefull near moving water its much different than what you think unless your experienced in it.
     

  3. Still_Waters...

    Still_Waters... New Member

    Messages:
    171
    State:
    Ohio
    Thanks for the tips, I don't think I'll have to use it, since I don't really fish around them too much, and when I do my feet are planted firmly on the ground, but it's something I think anyone who ever gets around one should know, just for safety's sake.
     
  4. tbull

    tbull New Member

    Messages:
    3,318
    State:
    SW Ohio
    Nice post Rollo, water is a very dangerous beast and you better respect it..:cool2:
     
  5. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Good Informative post Rollo....thanks.
     
  6. olddriller

    olddriller New Member

    Messages:
    260
    State:
    Missouri
    good information, thanks for posting.
     
  7. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    There's a similar situation below the spillways on big dams on large rivers. Most everyone knows that there's a concrete apron below the spillway for the water to fall on, but many don't realize that at the end of that apron, there's a concrete 'toe' sticking up to keep the water from curling under the end of the apron, and washing it out so it breaks off. That 'toe' causes the water to wash back toward the dam. Anything caught in that area is liable to wash back toward the spillway, be washed back to the 'toe', back to the spillway, etc. My father-in-law helped build Dardanelle Dam on the Arkansas River, and he told me about seeing a 1500# bull wash through the spillway. He said it washed back and forth, getting beat up, till nothing was left.
     
  8. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Very interesting Jerry, that would be a sight to see. I have seen a 50 gal. drum caught up pretty much the same way.. thanks for sharing... rollo
     
  9. katkiller77

    katkiller77 New Member

    Messages:
    1,549
    State:
    dayton ohio
    I fish two low dams one low dam by the Moraine airport and Hutchinson low dam by the power plant near Miamisburg Ohio both dangerous. I fish on gravel bars and sand bars close to the dam but never on the wall. 2007 someone died on the Hutchinson low dam near Shepard road it was posted on this sight safety first rick
     
  10. katkiller77

    katkiller77 New Member

    Messages:
    1,549
    State:
    dayton ohio
    if i was not catch so many catfish near them i would stop completely rick
     
  11. corklabus

    corklabus New Member

    Messages:
    359
    State:
    West Virginia
    Great safety info, no doubt, but being fairly new to boating and being on rivers, I have no idea what a low head damn actually is. A clarification might be helpful to people like myself. I always try to be as safe as possible, but I don't want to let something sneak up onj me either. :confused2:
     
  12. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    Did you watch the link under the post? That should give you a pretty good idea what they are. Many of the medium to smaller sized river systems have these built up and down them to help with water control...rollo

    Here's another link that will help with the definiton...

    http://boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/lowhead.htm
     
  13. corklabus

    corklabus New Member

    Messages:
    359
    State:
    West Virginia
    Thanks a bunch. Couldn't do the video 'cause of slow dial-up. The other thing worked. I had a sneakin' suspicion that's what you were refering to, but wanted to be positive.
    Might also want to add that this would also prove true of a natural rock water fall.
     
  14. hunted

    hunted New Member

    Messages:
    1,943
    State:
    washington court house,oh
    seen a video on one of those captured on video shows of a pontoon being pulled into a low head dam because of that.very unfortunate,all survived,but it would be a great learning example if it could be found.
     
  15. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    The river I fish does not have these low head dams...what purpose do they serve?
     
  16. x smokin joe

    x smokin joe Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,076
    State:
    Monclova,
    Name:
    Joe
    Ours on the Maumee was built for canal travel. It was needed to bring the water level up to where they could get around the rapids.
     
  17. BassMassey

    BassMassey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,883
    State:
    Oconee
    i think the lowhead dams on the muskingum are for the locks too....I know i read before the muskingum locks are the oldest hand operated locks still in use today...............I guess the sciota was never used for commercial travel?
     
  18. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    you are exactly right. I don't know how many are still operational though. I know Ellis has been broke for along while now, and last I heard there weren't any soon plans to fix it...rollo
     
  19. katfish ken

    katfish ken New Member

    Messages:
    4,092
    State:
    Paintsvill
    Another situation that creates the same effect. Could be a pipelines that cross the river or stream. I know of one in a local stream where they just laid a 24" pipeline across the creek on the bottom. With time above the pipeline filled with rock and sand and created the same effect.