Locking Through


Locking through is recommended for experienced paddlers only!

• When heading downriver, the dam is difficult to see. Stay alert and keep track of your location (be visible and cognizant of others). Cross over to the correct side of the river that the lock is located on as much as one mile before you arrive and hug the shoreline. Keep an eye out for the "DANGER DAM" signs and the white and orange pillar buoys (they may be taken out of the river depending on time of year and river flow).

• Let the Lock Master know you are there by ringing the bell located at the end of the storm wall, calling them on the phone or VHF radio channel 13 or by sounding one long blast from a boat whistle followed by one short blast. Advance communication is advised. Check schedule for hours.

• Approach the lock and be aware of the following signals: Red means stand clear and do not enter; Yellow means approach lock under full control and Green means proceed to enter lock directly. The Lock Master may also signal via air horn: one long blast means enter landward lock, two long blasts means enter riverward lock, one short blast means leave landward lock and two short blasts means leave riverward lock.

• Carry aboard at least seventy-five feet of mooring line to secure your small craft safely to the lock wall. The Lock Master reserves the right to deny permission to pass through due to inadequate line. To proceed, give one end of the line to the Lock Master. He will place around the mooring hook above. Feed the rope through your hand going up/down with the water level while holding the other end securely.

• After being let up/down, wait for the Lock Master to give you an OK before proceeding. Leave at a slow and consistent speed staying close yet visible beside the storm wall. Do not stop until you are well away from the pull of the dam's current and other boat traffic.

For additional information please refer to, Locking Through, an illustrated pamphlet that provides guidelines on the proper way to lock through navigation locks. The information is provided is by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Pittsburgh District.