Floating down the Mississippi on a...Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier?

A unique propisition, to say the least. When in a random conversation, a friend suggested he’d like to convert an Aircraft Carrier into a floating casino and cruise up and down the Mississippi. Naturally, my little brain starts trying to figure out if he could.

About an hour of googling has yet to answer my questions, so I put it to you all thusly:

In how shallow of water can a Nimitz class Aircraft Carrier travel?

Similar information for any class of AC would be helpful. We’re only going for rough estimates here. At 97,000 tons of displacement, I image an AC tootling up the Mississippi would cause…waves…regardless.


A bit of Googling turned up the draught (depth a ship needs) of a Nimitz-class carrier at 13 meters. In most places, only a 9 foot (~3 meters) depth is available for shipping traffic.

In most places along the Mississippi river, of course.

No way in hell that it could fit into any of the locks up here in minnesota.

Also note that there are series of locks and dams that aren’t big enough. (Around here, 110’ wide, 600’ long) (Nimitz: 134’ wide at waterline, 1000’ long)

There was some talk of parking the USS Wisconsin in Wisconsin (prob at the Manitowoc(sp?) Museum) but the St Larry seaway isn’t big enough.


I’m sure my previous hamster-nibbled post is above. Or not, no matter. I misread Q.E.D.'s post to read 9 meters for much of the Mississippi.

So while I was waiting for the post to time out I thought to myself, “what’s a shallow-draft warship which could sail the Miss?” And then I thought, I know! An LST!

And then I discovered that someone already did sail an LST up the Mississippi, all the way to Indiana, this year. If the stories of the voyage over from England to Normandy are true, chances are it wouldn’t be the first time your LST saw gambling aboard.

Hmmm. I know the channel is probably deeper there, but New Orleans had an aircraft carrier tied up in the warehouse district for the longest time. It wasn’t a Nimitz. I believe it is/was a World War II vintage escort carrier.

Ahh, here she is: http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/28.htm

In the summer of 1974 there was a submarine in the Missouri River making contact with Ham Radio operators. I got a QSL card from the US Navy confirming I’d made contact with them and that is was the furthest inland a submarine had ever traveled. The sub was being towed up the river to Omaha for a reason that now fails me. Strange but true.

The submarine in Nebraska is the former Uss Marlin and is now a museum

Submarine in Nebraska. Don’t think I’ve ever seen those two words used in the same sentence! Thanks for the update audit1.

Even if the river was deep enough the carrier would not be able to get past Baton Rouge. The hwy 190 bridge is too low. Gov. Long had the bridge built to keep ocean going ships from traveling past Baton Rouge thus insuring the port of New Orleans and Baton Rouge would have business off-loading ocean going ships and loading barge traffic.

Federal Lock # 27 is just North of downtown St. Louis. Are there any others further South?

So bridges aside, and depth of course, would width and length allow travel as far as St. Louis?