Locking Through
    In all cases, you will want to approach the lock slowly - not because you are a novice, but because you are a pro. Near the lock's gate there
    will be an official (or unofficial) waiting or staging area - In some cases you can tie up along a wall and wait, and in other cases you just keep
    your boat steady in place. If you are alone, or the first to arrive, you can indicate your intention to lock through to the Lock Master on your
    VHF.  If there are already a boats waiting with VHF radios, you don't need to call the Lock Master again.
    rush, as you will have to wait until everyone is in the lock and secure. Remember that you will be inside the lock with all your fellow
    adventurers, so patience, and courtesy will be appreciated by all, and don't forget, you will most likely meet up with these same boaters
    again at the next lock, so be nice (even if it hurts).

    Sometimes, if your timing and arrival at the lock is great, you will be able to drive when the lock has 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 Master, or have a
    green light, before entering a lock. In most locks, on busy days, the Lock Master (or staff) will communicate with you with hand gestures or
    with the use of a speaker horn. In all cases, when approaching the lock, you need to keep a sharp eye out for, and on the Lock Master or
    staff.  Always approach and enter the lock DEAD SLOW. If your boat approaches too fast, your wake will follow - and possibly heave you
    and any other boats smashing into the lock wall.
    Have your fenders in place and your lines ready before you enter the lock, As you arrive at your chosen or designated spot on the wall, and
    have come to a stop, simply loop  your dock line around the vertical guide wires or wall cleats.

    Do not ever "tie" your vessel to anything in a lock - even the guide straps. Remember - your line, and more importantly - your boat - has to
    rise or fall with the changing water level in the lock. One dock line near the bow and one at near the stern will do nicely.
How to Lock through the Locks
See how easy that is...
Sure...  The first time, you will feel a bit intimidated, and
nervous .But by the third time - You'll be a pro...
Don't assume that just because a boat is bigger, newer, or more expensive
then yours, that the Skipper knows what he is doing.
Remember the Exxon Valdez ?

    The Lock doors close, and the water begins to rise (going up) or fall (going down). All the while, you simply keep a hand on the line you
    have looped around the guide wire, watching to make sure it (or your boat) moves up or down as the water level begins to fill or drain. If
    your boat or line gets caught or snagged, It could create a major disaster.  
    stop, or stay put. Normally, the first boat in is the first boat out, but this is not true in all cases.  In some cases the Lock Master will send
    the smaller boats out first if any are at the rear going in. So pay attention - and don't be in a hurry. Also, in some cases, you may be in a
    lock with a small fishing boat, rowboat, dinghy, or even a canoe; in which case - even a small wake made between two steep vertical walls
    can return and capsize somebody.

    If it's your first time through, and you're a bit apprehensive, don't be shy about letting the Lock Master know - they will gladly offer
    whatever help you might need to get you through without incident.

    The only time this formula will vary slightly is at the two "lift" locks and marine railway.  At the Peterborough and Kirkfield lift locks, one can
    tie off their boat, as 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 carriage.
Up bound traffic in the Kingston Mills Locks on the Rideau Waterway
These two boats are headed up river and the lock
chamber is about half full of water.

bow of the white boat. He is holding both ends of a line
that is looped around the vertical guide straps that
extend from the top of the lock to the very bottom. This is
so he can hold his vessel in place (against the wall)
while his boat is allowed to be raised or lowered.
At right, the lock chamber is full. The man on the
bow is still holding the two ends of his line. Now
you can see the wall that hold the vertical guide
(which I really like) has just started to move forward
out of the lock.  It really is
easy - as it should be.
    Speaking of exceptions to the rule...  This is the entrance to the Peterborough "lift" lock. Here, you can tie your boat off - as the
entire lock chamber moves up and down - kinda like an elevator full of water. LOL -  Floor please?
Notice the vertical "Guide Straps"
these are what you loop your line around
to hold your vessel in place.
How unfortunate it is... That most people believe  "sailing
off to Paradise" means you have to cross an ocean.
Remember that extra 150 feet (or so) of dock line all the boat safety articles and Coast Guard recommend?  
Well... You're going to need it. More than once, you will find yourself in a lock with no guide straps available.
Either they are all taken, or there just aren't any. So don't panic! Instead - simply pull out that 150' of dock
line and lay the approximate middle of it over a cleat or piling atop the lock's wall.  If you are up-bound, and
the top of the wall is 40' above you, the Lock Master or Lock staff will take your line and do it for you. That,
or your First Mate may have to climb a flight of stairs.
Just remember, when the gate opens, that's your line your holding to, and you will want to pull one end until
you get in ALL in your boat - before starting your engine - that way if 30' or so, falls in the water, it won't end
up tangled in your props.
Seeing the world
from the water. . .
be sure you see it
with someone
you love.
Capt John
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