|Helpful Hints on Locking
first time for everything.
If you have never experienced the adventure of going through the locks,
here's a quick primer. Don't worry, it won't hurt one bit.
If you can dock your boat,
you can handle locking through.
Some folks have misconceptions about the 'mysterious'
about locking through and are misinformed. This little bit of insight
should help with all that. . .
In most cases, you will
approach the lock and proceed directly to the 'Blue Line', an area of
break wall painted - wait for it - Blue! By tying up in this area, you
are indicating to the lock staff that you would like to transit through
lock. Remember to always approach the lock area DEAD SLOW. If a boat
approaches too fast, the wake will follow - and pass - the boat, right
into the lock. The only
thing that hurrying will do is result in some unwelcome looks from your
travelers and lock staff. There's no reason to rush any ways, as
the staff will wait until everyone is in and secure. Remember that you
be inside the lock with your fellow adventures, so a little courtesy
going in will be appreciated by all.
Sometimes, if your timing is
good, you can drive
right into the lock without having to wait on the Blue Line. This can
occur on quieter days, or if the lock had just emptied the load of
boats heading in the opposite direction of you. Whatever
the conditions, always make sure you have received
confirmation from the lock staff to enter. They will generally
gesture you into the lock from a distance, or call out to ask if you
want to go through. Some
lock stations are equipped with loudspeakers to call boats in, but most
indicate to enter with hand gestures. If you're not sure, just give
them a wave or call to make sure everyone is on the same page.
your lines ready before you enter the lock,
making sure that they are looped under railings, etc.. A pike pole
close by might come in handy as well.
enter the lock chamber, you will be directed to one side
or the other. Once you reach the designated spot and have come to a
loop your dock lines around the wire straps that run vertically along
the inside of lock wall. One dock
coming off the the bow and one at the stern will do nicely. Unless you
doing this in a small runabout or personal water craft, a crew of at
least two would be required. Generally, the captain will perform the
stern duties, with the first mate handling things up front.
everybody in and secure,
the lock doors will close and the water level
will begin to rise (going
up) or fall
(going down). All the while, you simply keep a hand
on the line you have looped, watching to make sure it doesn't snag
against the wall. Don't ever tie off the line, as you will need to
adjust it periodically during the process.
note; once you have secured your vessel, the engine(s) must be turned
off, all open flames extinguished, no smoking is allowed and your
engine blower must remain on throughout.
Finally, when the water has reached the new level, the lock
staff will open the doors and let everyone know the sequence that the
boats should leave. The first boat in isn't necessarily the first one
to leave, so pay attention for these instructions.
If it's your first time through, or a little apprehensive,
about letting the staff know - they will gladly offer whatever help you
might need to get you through without incident. They can loop your
lines for you, or even toss you one from the wall if your reach is a
little off. They will even push your boat off the wall, if you ask.
That's about it! It's really not difficult at all. Simply take it easy
and be aware of your fellow boaters and the lock staff and you'll be a
pro in no time.
Depending on how busy things
are, the whole operation should take roughly 20 - 30 minutes.
The only time this formula will vary slightly is at the two
liftlocks and marine railway. At the Peterborough and Kirkfield
liftlocks, one can tie off their boat, as the the whole lock chamber
moves up and down. As well, at the Big Chute marine railway, the lines
are simply handed to the staff who ride along with the boats on the
You can do it!