Charting a boat cruise tour will work pretty much the same principles as planning your itinerary on a road tour. Planning your itinerary on a cruise ship, however, will often be far more meticulous than trying to figure out what highways you should take. Charting a boat cruise tour along the Mississippi River will require some common knowledge of the weather conditions as well as the layout of the Mississippi`s waterways and tributaries themselves. In some cases, such as a itinerary along the St. Croix, Ohio, Iowa or Illinois rivers, it will simply be a matter of knowing just how long it will take you getting from point A to point B. Cruising in Mississippi coastal waters will most likely require a little more precision to detail.
Plot your most basic itinerary. There will be many different options along the Mississippi River, which will include various tributaries of the Mississippi River. Always take into consideration to check for various stopping points along the way so you may determine just how far are intending to travel on a specific day.
Try to use a parallel ruler so you can plot your itinerary. Try to line up the ruler with two distinct points along your itinerary and then try stepping the ruler to closest compass rose on your map so you can find out your direction. Read the direction marks which will be pointing that same directions you want to cruise. For instance, if you plan to cruise north, you will have to read the direction marks on the north part of the compass rose.
Examine your chart and try to pay as much attention as you can to the notes from your chart. The notes will “show” your a few things such as underwater obstructions or water depth. On inland itineraries, like canals or waterways, a basic list of overhead obstructions such as bridge or power lines may be included as well.
Try to calculate the amount of time you will be spending to reach your point of destination. You may need to determine that particular distance in nautical miles as well, and the speeds your ship will reach. The formula will use speed, distance and time for calculating both the approximate position of the boat and intended arrival times. Using the internet you can find various sources available which can help you with these calculations.
Evaluate tidal conditions, if you feel it is necessary, so you can be sure that you will travel your itinerary in safe conditions. In certain cases, tides may cause the water levels to rise, and occasionally sink. Although this may not be too big of a deal, if you will be cruising in open water or near inland canals, in coastal areas these particular changes in the level of the water can make it quite impossible to travel these areas during certain period of time of a specific day. Try to use tidal charts to you can make sure that you will reach your point of destination at the specific time you are expected to sail through.
Try to look for details along intended itinerary, including markers, visible landmarks or buoys. Make a list of the different landmarks you will be encountering in that specific order in which they will be appearing on your cruise tour. This list of landmarks and buoys will be acting as a guide while cruising along the Mississippi River or its tributaries.