Lock Operator

Control machineries to open and close locks and dams on canals.
picture of Lock Operator

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$24,000 – $57,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Lock Operators do?

Controls machinery to open and close locks and dams on canal: Observes gauges and turns valves to increase or decrease water level in lock. Observes positions of vessels and tie-up of mooring lines in lock to ensure optimum utilization of lock space and prevent vessel damage. Logs data, such as water levels, weather conditions, and type, number, and destination of vessels. Starts motors to open gates and sections of dams for passage of vessels. Turns on navigation lights and traffic signals along canal. Cleans, oils, and makes minor repairs to equipment. Collects lock slips from vessel operators and submits slips to supervisor. Ties or slips line-eyes over bitts on lock deck to secure vessels. May direct activities of workers engaged in mooring vessels in lock.

Should I be a Lock Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • Also known as: Lock and Dam Operator, Lockman, Lock Master

    How to become a Lock Operator

    Most Lock Operators 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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