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Go Back   SailNet Community > Contributing Publishers > Good Old Boat > Navigating locks
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Topic Review (Newest First)
2 Weeks Ago 12:04 AM
Re: Navigating locks

And if you dont close the sluice, the entire section of canal drains. Happened to us once on the Cheshire ring. Woke up in the morning with the bed at an unusual slant, no water, just mud. Took all day for the section to fill up again.
3 Weeks Ago 01:59 PM
robert lawson-smith
Re: Navigating locks

ps don't forget to moor up and go and close the gate and sluice before departing. This leaves the lock ready for the next user.

Happy Sailing
3 Weeks Ago 01:56 PM
robert lawson-smith
Re: Navigating locks

with reference to cleating lines in locks. i only do this if i have to operate the lock myself and then only to operate the sluice gate.Then return to your boat and uncleate or you could be left hanging in the lock. Play the line in or out until the lock has filled or emptied then recleat and open the gate return to your boat .Uncleat and exit.
4 Weeks Ago 08:30 PM
Re: Navigating locks

Whats the most important to remember from this?
For me, it's that there are many different lock systems and it's important to be prepared for the system you're going to have to negotiate.
Also, make a fenderboard out of a 2x6 about eight feet long.
I'm familiar with the Champlain and Erie Canals. Usually, you can pass a dockline behind a vertical pole in a niche on the lock wall and just ride it up or down. Or else you grab a weighted line that hangs from the top of the chamber, and pull down on it to keep your boat alongside. (wear gloves)
One of the biggest helps is knowing where in the lock chamber the water enters. Sometimes it's on the side; tie up to the opposite side to keep from getting pushed away. Sometimes turbulence from bottom-fills can push you around, too. That seems to be the biggest problem I've encountered inside locks, and you can neutralize it by avoiding the inlets.
The worst time I ever had with a lock was when the keeper cracked the gates to empty it, and I was downstream. The rush of water nearly washed me off the wall--I was single-handing and holding the line around a cleat that was just out of reach to tie to. With a heavy 33-ft cruiser it was dicey for a minute or two. Lesson--stay a good distance downstream of the gates when waiting to lock through upstream.
Otherwise, I've found them pretty easy to negotiate.
02-19-2015 04:41 PM
Re: Navigating locks

The commercial lock at my home port is 1000' long x 100' wide and contends with a spring range of 48', 2nd only to Bay of Fundy I believe. I have bounced past the locks going upstream on an early rising tide before now and looked across to see the cill still high and dry, an imposing sight. Wouldn't want to be using it in a yacht though.
02-12-2015 11:50 PM
Re: Navigating locks

I used to sail in Seattle and was very nervous about locking. I had an experienced friend take me through but I was still nervous and he gave me a great tip: "When you hail the lock master, tell them it's your first time, they will treat you like you don't know anything". Worked for me until I tried it three times in one week.
02-20-2014 04:28 PM
Re: Navigating locks

Any experience and advise dealing with the Panama Canal would be greatly appreciated. We are under 50'. Understood at that a true LOA ( measured including sprit and davits) under 50' we are allowed to not have to hire professional line handlers. Is that still true?
02-20-2014 04:13 PM
Re: Navigating locks

Whats the most important to remember from this?
01-03-2014 04:07 PM
robert lawson-smith
Re: Navigating locks

Being moored on the Thames near to Marlow there are 13 locks to navigate before the tidal waters of London . I find that putting a single loop round the locks stays and holding the rope in the hand is the safest method when going up or down. As the boat rises you can slowly play the rope in and take up the slack. When lowering you simply hold a small tension whilst playing the rope out. This way you can quite easily untie with a flick of the rope to cast off.
the lock keeper will normally indicate which side he wants you to moor up to.
05-23-2013 01:06 PM
Re: Navigating locks

Having recently gone through the NY locks to the great lakes, we were told (and followed this advice) to NOT cleat lines and to HOLD them by hand.
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