Cottonport Marina and Campground is where we went after locking through Watts Bar Dam onto Chickamauga Lake.
I haven't proposed a lock through due to the difficulty of social distancing in the locks (not to mention some of the difficulties we have had keeping everybody operation through the lock). It's easy enough to navigate if people want to do it, just stay on the Tennessee River and stop at the first Marina on the left
Long Island Marina is on the way to Fort Loudon Dam which is the furthermost point from Arrowhead on Watts Bar Lake, 54 miles one way.
Proud Owner of 1956 Vagabond, 1950 Flyer, 1956 Rocket, Co-owner 1952 Flash, 10-1/2 less than VinTin
That's interesting & valuable to hear. Sorry for your inconvenience! I've locked through Guntersville, Nickajack, Chickamauga, and Watts Bar at various times over the past 5-6 years in my DR - just not all on the same trip before. I've learned to plan for 1-2 hour delays in case a barge is locking through, but I haven't encountered mechanical failures before. I believe they drained the locks at Chickamauga for maintenance back in 2016. Here's some info from an article at the time:
The Nashville District restarted the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project in April 2016 with a $3.1 million cofferdam stabilization project, and expects to award a two-year-long contract in September 2016 to begin lock excavation, which will prepare the site for future lock construction.
When the new 110-by-600-foot lock is funded and completed, it is expected to speed up the process of locking through, and would process up to nine jumbo barges in one lockage as compared to the one barge per lockage at the existing lock. With efficient funding, the new lock could be completed and able to lock vessels as early as 2022. Final work on the project would extend into 2023.
If you are heading toward Chattanooga now, be aware there is a newish (3-4 years old?) Spring Hill Suites hotel on the riverfront a few hundred yards before you reach the aquarium. They have a restaurant/bar on a deck overlooking the river, and transient docking on the riverbank below the hotel. My wife & I went from Stevenson AL (above Guntersville) to Chattanooga a few years ago (before the Spring Hill Suites hotel was finished), and overnighted at a downtown hotel. At the time, we payed 50c/ft for overnight transient docking. In the DR, that was a very reasonable $6.50 - cheaper than garage parking at the hotel! In your REAL boat, I guess it would be a little more!
jmhyatt, the idea of the Huntsville to Watts Bar journey might sound a lot better than reality. Having now completed most of that trip, along with the 650 miles from the Gulf of Mexico prior to that final leg, I can tell you that the state of the locks on the Tennessee and Tenn-Tom rivers truly sucks.
We were merely inconvenienced by a 3 hour delay at Coffeeville lock, and another 3 hour delay at Aberdeen lock. An 8.5 hour delay at Whitten lock was considerably more than an inconvenience. In each of these cases, they delays were due to equipment failures in the aging locks. The Wilson lock was closed for an entire day earlier this month, followed by another 6 hour delay the following day.
A couple of days later, Guntersville lock was down for several hours before reopening, then closed again after locking only a single commercial tow. Another day of travel lost. We also received word from a lockmaster downriver that Chickamauga lock is experiencing major valve troubles, but haven't quite made it there yet.
All of this is a pain in the ass on a big boat, with creature comforts. On a small craft, it would be a complete disaster.