Bridge Tender

Control movable bridges with care.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$24,000 – $57,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Bridge Tenders do?

Bridge Tenders operate movable bridges. A Bridge Tender acts as a kind of Traffic Guard for a drawbridge, opening and closing it to allow watercraft to pass.

As a Bridge Tender, you make sure your bridge is clear of automobile and pedestrian traffic before opening it. Once it’s clear, you lower a gate, restricting bridge access, and use horns or sirens to signal the opening of the bridge. After opening it, you watch as the water vessel passes, observing its position and progress, and directing with loudspeakers, signals, or telecommunication equipment as necessary.

Once the water vessel has passed, you close the bridge and raise the gate, allowing bridge traffic to continue. You also log information about the vessel—such as name, type, number, and destination—as well as the time that the bridge was opened and closed.

If necessary, you prepare accident reports. Additionally, you inspect, clean, and lubricate bridge equipment, and make minor repairs. You’re also responsible for keeping the bridge tender house clean and orderly at all times.

To do this job well, you must be able to sit for long periods of time, stay calm under pressure, and use good independent judgment. Other important characteristics are the ability to effectively communicate and follow instructions. Physical strength is beneficial as well, as you must be able to climb the bridge stairs and ladders, and perform various general physical tasks.


Should I be a Bridge Tender?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Bridge Leverman, Bridgeman, Bridge Opener, Dam Tender Assistant, Drawbridge Tender

    How to become a Bridge Tender

    Most Bridge Tenders have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9haaaa&chl=no+college+%2889%25%29|certificate+%2811%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,89,89
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