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What Can You Do to Avoid Dangerous Situations When Using a Lock

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

what can you do to avoid dangerous situations when using a lock

Using locks is very important as it allows us to go through waterways of differing levels. However, it can be dangerous to proceed carelessly, and this can result in a boating accident. But what can you do to avoid dangerous situations when using a lock?

In this short guide, we’ll take a look at some of the basic but important steps to make sure we can go through locks safely. By doing so, we can ensure our own safety as well as other boaters’ as well.

Stick around and keep reading to learn more.

Going Through a Lock Safely


Locks are important to go through many key boating areas, and there are many things to look out for in order to go through a lock safely. Below are some of the most important things to keep in mind when going through a lock.

1. Communicate for lock entry

Signal the lock before proceeding. You have the option of communicating via radio as well. It is important to communicate with the lock attendant and to heed instructions carefully because failure to do so can cause problems for you and for others as well.

2. Approach and enter the lock carefully

Remember always to be mindful of the surroundings when using a lock. You should watch out for surrounding boats and the wind as well. Wait for the green signal light to come on before entering the lock.

Aside from the green light, we also have the red light meaning to keep clear of the lock to allow other boats to pass; and amber means to approach carefully and with full control of the boat.

3. Secure the boat properly

Secure the boat inside the lock with lines for both the bow and stern. Loop the line but don’t tie it. It is important to adjust the rope as the water level changes in order to keep the boat in place.

4. Exit the lock with care

Wait for the gates to open completely before exiting the lock. It is also important to wait for the water level to become stable and free from movement before starting the engine. Remember to check that all directions are clear and proceed to exit the lock at a stable speed to keep the boat steady.


There are many things you need to be aware of in order to go through a lock safely. However, knowing these 4 steps is a good start. Just make sure that you keep yourself open to learning more.

If you know anyone else asking what can you do to avoid dangerous situations when using a lock, please share this article with them as well. We’d also appreciate it if you leave your comments and suggestions below.

Remember to boat safely.

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