Since this page has helped countless of people prepare of the river, I've made this printable copy. Be sure to visit the main page of Life on the River with towboater, David Estrada to learm more about living and working on towboats and barges:
Here here is a list of clothes that you should get:
- About 3 pairs of work jeans
- 4-5 t-shirts
- 2 long sleaved shirts
- 5-6 pairs of underwear and socks
- A good strong belt
- A pair of regular tennis shoes for when you are not working
If you get on the boat on 10/21 you will probably be riding untill late November. It may get real cold out on the river later in your hitch, especially in Dec and Jan. Remember that you will be called to work at any given time rain or snow. I highly recomend that you get a some thermal coveralls for the winter months.
Also I would get these for cold weather:
- A pair of thermal underwear(top and bottom)- bring them now
- A jacket
- Thermal socks
- Thermal work gloves
- A ski mask and/or knit cap
Also keep in mind that you may be toting your baggage through airports etc. and you do not want to lug around too much. Use your best judgement and bring what you need. Carrying around three bags is tough, so try to cram everything into two if you can. Thermal coveralls take up a lot of room. You may be able to get by without them untill Dec. Then, you'll need them.
Bring enough toiletries to last a month:
- shaving cream/razor
- and anything else that you may take for granted when on land.
Here are some other items you may want to bring:
- Reading material for a month. Novels are key. (Magazines should
already be plentiful, but the best way to get in with a new crew is to bring
the newest editions)
- A prepaid phone card. get one with a lot of time because once it's gone you have no contact with the outside world.
- 100 bucks spending cash for just in case
- If you can, bring a credit card. They have saved me when in a jam at the airport a couple of times. You never know what may happen when being moved around.
- A Map ( I always want to know where I am and how far we are from a destination)
- A camera (don't seem touristy though. The river is these men's home)
- A cheap waterproof indiglow watch.
- Paper,envelops, stamps
Here are items that should be supplied for you from the boat so don't worry about bring them:
- Blankets and pillow
- Work gloves (only some boat companies so you might want to bring your own to be sure. Don't expect the expensive thermal gloves)
- flashlights (however I recommend you get your own personal flashlight. The best kind by far are the lights by Pelican, in particular the SabreLite and StealthLite. They take a lickin' and are safe for using on petroleum barges)
- safety gear
- earplugs and earmuffs - by the way always wear earmuffs or earplugs when going into the engine room. A large number of the men in their middle ages on the boats are hard of hearing. The engine room is by far the loudest place I have ever been and in a short amount of time it can cause permanent damage to your ears. Let me give you a useful tip. Always carry a pair of foam earplugs in your "quarter pocket" in your jeans. A lot of times you are in and out of the engine room and don't have time to hunt down some earmuffs. Be prepared and protect your ears because you only have two for life!
Here is some other important advice and tips!