Ouachita and Black Rivers, Ark. and La., Mile 0.0 to Mile 338.0 (Camden, Ark.) above the mouth of the Black River; the Red River, La., Mile 6.7 (Junction of Red, Atchafalaya and Old Rivers) to Mile 276.0 (Shreveport, La.); use, administration, and navigation.
(1) Authority of lockmasters.
The lockmaster shall be charged with the immediate control and management of the lock and of the area set aside as the lock area, including the lock approach channels. He shall insure that all laws, rules, and regulations for the use of the lock and lock area are duly complied with, to which end he is authorized to give all necessary orders and directions in accordance therewith both to employees of the Government and to any and every person within the limits of the lock or lock area, whether navigating the lock or not. No one shall cause any movement of any vessel or other floating thing in the lock or approaches except by or under the direction of the lockmaster or his assistants. For the purpose of the regulations in this section, the “lock area” is considered to extend from the downstream to the upstream arrival posts.
(ii) Locks staffed with contract personnel.
Contract lock operators shall give all necessary orders and direction for operation of the locks. No one shall cause any movement of any vessel or other floating object in the locks or approaches except by or under the direction of the contract lock operator. All duties and responsibilities of the lockmasters set forth in this section shall be performed by the contract lock operator except that the responsibility for enforcing all laws, rules and regulations shall be vested in an offsite government employee designated by the Vicksburg District Engineer.
(2) Sound signals.
Vessels desiring passage through a lock in either direction shall give notice to the lockmaster by one long and one short distinct blast of a horn or whistle when not less than three-fourths mile from the lock. When carrying dangerous cargo, the signal will be one long and two short blasts of the horn or whistle. When the lock is ready for entrance, the lockmaster shall reply with one long blast of a horn or whistle. When the lock is not ready for entrance, the lockmaster shall reply by four or more short, distinct blasts of a horn or whistle (danger signal). Permission to leave the lock shall be indicated by the lockmaster by one short blast. A distinct blast is defined as a clearly audible blast of any length. A long blast means a blast of from 4 to 6 seconds' duration. A short blast is of about 1 second's duration.
Vessels that are not equipped with a sound signal desiring passage through a lock shall give notice to the lockmaster by one long blast of the horn located at either end of the lock wall. The horn may be activated by pulling the properly marked chain or rope hanging from the horn down to the water surface. One long blast means a blast of from 4 to 6 seconds' duration.
(3) Visual signals.
Signal lights will be displayed outside each lock gate to supplement the sound signals, as follows:
One green light to indicate that the lock is open to approaching navigation.
One red light to indicate that the lock is not open to approaching navigation. Vessels shall stand clear.
Navigation over the dam is possible during high water. When this condition exists, a continuous flashing red light, visible upstream and downstream, will be displayed to indicate that traffic will bypass the lock and pass over the dam on the Ouachita and Black Rivers.
(iv) A navigation pass is not provided as part of the Red River Locks and Dams.
When water levels rise to within 2 feet of the top of the lock walls, operation of the locks will cease until the water level falls below this level. These stages can reasonably be expected to occur once in 10 years. No vessel, tow, or raft shall attempt to navigate over the lock or other structures at high river stages. United States Coast Guard radiotelephone broadcasts and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigation bulletins should be monitored for information on lock operations.
Two-way radio equipment is provided at all locks. The “Safety and Calling” channel (Channel 16, frequency of 156.8 mhz), will be monitored at all times for initial communication with vessels. Information transmitted or received in these communications shall in no way affect the requirements for the use of sound signals or display of visual signals as provided in paragraphs (b)(2) and (3) of this section.
(5) Precedence at locks.
The vessel arriving first at a lock will be first to lock through. In the case of vessels approaching the lock simultaneously from opposite directions, the vessel approaching at the same elevation as the water in the lock chamber will be locked through first. Precedence shall be given to vessels belonging to the United States, passenger vessels, commercial vessels, rafts, and pleasure craft, in the order named. Arrival posts or markers will be established ashore above and below the locks. Vessels arriving at or opposite such posts or markers will be considered as having arrived at the lock within the meaning of this paragraph (b)(5). The lockmaster may prescribe such departure from the normal order of precedence stated above, as in his judgment, is warranted under prevailing circumstances to achieve best lock utilization.
The lockage of pleasure boats, houseboats, or like craft may be expedited by locking them through with commercial craft (other than barges carrying dangerous cargoes). If, after the arrival of such craft, no combined lockage can be accomplished within a reasonable time, not to exceed the time required for three other lockages, then separate lockages shall be made. Dangerous cargoes are described in 46 CFR part 146.
Vessels, tows, or rafts navigating on the Ouachita and Black Rivers with overall dimensions greater than 80 feet wide, 600 feet long, and 9 feet draft, or tows or rafts requiring breaking into two or more sections to pass through the lock may transit the lock at such time as the lockmaster determines that they will neither unduly delay the transit of craft of lesser dimensions, nor endanger the lock structure and appurtenances because of wind, current, or other adverse conditions. These craft are also subject to such special handling requirements as the lockmaster finds necessary at the time of transit.
The maximum dimensions on the Red River Waterway of a vessel tow attempting to pass through the lock during normal pool stages in a single passage are 80 feet wide, 705 feet long, and 9 feet draft. Tows requiring breaking into two or more sections to pass through the lock may transit the lock at such times as the lockmaster/lock operator determines that they will neither unduly delay the transit of craft of lesser dimensions, nor endanger the lock structure and appurtenances because of wind, current, or other adverse conditions. These craft are also subject to such special handling requirements as the lockmaster/lock operator finds necessary at the time of transit.
(6) Entrance to an exit from locks.
No vessel or raft shall enter or leave locks before being signaled to do so. While waiting their turn, vessels or rafts must not obstruct navigation and must remain at a safe distance from locks. Before entering a lock they shall take position in the rear of any vessels or rafts that precede them, and there arrange the tow for locking in sections if necessary. Masters and pilots of vessels or persons in charge of rafts shall cause no undue delay in entering or leaving locks upon receiving the proper signal. They shall take such action as will insure that the approaches are not at any time unnecessarily obstructed by parts of a tow awaiting lockage or already passed through. They shall provide sufficient men to move through locks promptly without damage to the structures. Vessels or tows shall enter locks with reasonable promptness after being signaled to do so.
(7) Lockage and passage of vessels.
Vessels shall enter and leave locks under such control as to prevent any damage to the locks, gates, guide walls, guard walls, and fenders. Vessels shall be provided with suitable lines and fenders, shall always use fenders to protect the walls and gates, and when locking at night shall be provided with suitable lights and use them as directed. Fenders on vessels shall be water-soaked or otherwise fire proofed before being utilized in the lock or approaches. Vessels shall not meet or pass each other anywhere between the guide walls or fender system at the approaches to locks.
Vessels which do not have a draft of at least 2 feet less than the depth over sills, or which have projections liable to damage gates, walls, or fenders, shall not enter the approaches to or pass through locks. Information concerning depth over sills may be obtained from the lockman on duty.
Vessels having chains, lines, or drags either hanging over the sides or ends or dragging on the bottom for steering or other purposes will not be permitted to pass locks or dams.
Towing vessels shall accompany all tows or partial tows through locks.
No vessel whose cargo projects beyond its sides will be admitted to lockage.
Vessels in a sinking condition shall not enter locks or approaches.
The lockmaster may refuse to lock vessels which in his judgment fail to comply with the regulations in this paragraph.
This section shall not affect the liability of the owners and operators of boats for any damage caused by their operations to locks or other structures.
(8) Number of lockages.
Tows or rafts locking in sections will generally be allowed only two consecutive lockages if individual vessels are waiting for lockage, but may be allowed more in special cases. If tows or rafts are waiting above and below a lock for lockage, sections will be locked both ways alternately whenever practicable. When two or more tows or rafts are waiting lockage in the same direction, no part of one shall pass the lock until the whole of the one preceding it shall have passed.
Vessels and rafts when in a lock shall be moored where directed by the lockmaster by bow, stern, and spring lines to the bitts provided for that purpose and lines shall not be let go until the signal is given for the vessel or raft to leave. Tying to the lock ladders is prohibited.
The mooring of vessels or rafts near the approaches to locks except while waiting for lockage, or at other places in the pools where such mooring interfers with general navigation, is prohibited.
(10) Operating locks.
The lock gates, valves, and accessories will be moved only under the direction of the lockmaster; but, if required, all vessels and rafts using the locks shall furnish ample help on the lock walls for handling lines under the direction of the lockmaster.
(c) Trespass on U.S. property.
Trespass on lock grounds or other waterway property or injury to the banks, lock entrances, locks, cribs, dams, piers, fences, trees, buildings, or any other property of the United States pertaining to the waterway is strictly prohibited. No landing of freight, passengers, or baggage will be allowed on or over Government piers, lock walls, guide or guard walls, except by permission of the lockmaster. No person except employees of the United States or persons assisting with the locking operations under the direction of the lockmaster will be allowed on the dam, lock walls, guide walls, guard walls, abutments, or appurtenant structures.
(d) Vessels to carry regulations.
A copy of the regulations in this section shall be kept at all times on board each vessel regularly navigating the waterways to which the regulations in this section apply. Copies may be obtained free of charge at any of the locks or from the Vicksburg District Engineer, Vicksburg, Mississippi, upon request.
[37 FR 14778, July 25, 1972, as amended at 52 FR 18235, May 14, 1987; 52 FR 34775, Sept. 15, 1987; 56 FR 13765, Apr. 4, 1991; 63 FR 24428, May 4, 1998]