Ohio River, Mississippi River above Cairo, Ill., and their tributaries; use, administration, and navigation.
(a) Authority of lockmasters—
(1) Locks staffed with Government personnel.
The provisions of this paragraph apply to all waterways in this section except for Cordell Hull Lock located at Mile 313.5 on the Cumberland River in Tennessee. 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/she shall see that all laws, rules, and regulations for the use of the lock and lock area are duly complied with, to which end he/she 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 and lock area, whether navigating the lock or not. No one shall cause any movement of any vessel, boat, or other floating thing in the lock or approaches except by or under the direction of the lockmaster or his/her assistants. In the event of an emergency, the lockmaster may depart from these regulations as he deems necessary. The lockmasters shall also be charged with the control and management of federally constructed mooring facilities.
(2) Locks staffed with contract personnel.
The provisions of this paragraph apply to Cordell Hull Lock located at Mile 313.5 on the Cumberland River in Tennessee. Contract personnel shall give all necessary orders and directions for operation of the lock. No one shall cause any movement of any vessel, boat or other floating thing in the locks or approaches except by or under the direction of the contract lock operator. All duties and responsibilities of the lockmaster set forth in this section shall be performed by the contract lock operator except that responsibility for enforcing all laws, rules, and regulations shall be vested in a government employee designated by the Nashville District Engineer. The district engineer will notify waterway users and the general public through appropriate notices and media concerning the location and identity of the designated government employee.
(b) Safety rules for vessels using navigation locks.
The following safety rules are hereby prescribed for vessels in the locking process, including the act of approaching or departing a lock:
(1) Tows with flammable or hazardous cargo barges, loaded or empty.
Stripping barges or transferring cargo is prohibited.
All hatches on barges used to transport flammable or hazardous materials shall be closed and latched, except those barges carrying a gas-free certificate.
Spark-proof protective rubbing fenders (“possums”) shall be used.
(2) All vessels.
Leaking vessels may be excluded from locks until they have been repaired to the satisfaction of the lockmaster.
Smoking, open flames, and chipping or other spark-producing activities are prohibited on deck during the locking cycle.
Painting will not be permitted in the lock chamber during the locking cycle.
Tow speeds shall be reduced to a rate of travel such that the tow can be stopped by checking should mechanical difficulties develop. Pilots should check with the individual lockmasters concerning prevailing conditions. It is also recommended that pilots check their ability to reverse their engines prior to beginning an approach. Engines shall not be turned off in the lock until the tow has stopped and been made fast.
U.S. Coast Guard regulations require all vessels to have on board life saving devices for prevention of drowning. All crew members of vessels required to carry work vests (life jackets) shall wear them during a lockage, except those persons in an area enclosed with a handrail or other device which would reasonably preclude the possibility of falling overboard. All deckhands handling lines during locking procedure shall wear a life jacket. Vessels not required by Coast Guard regulations to have work vests aboard shall have at least the prescribed life saving devices, located for ready access and use if needed. The lockmaster may refuse lockage to any vessel which fails to conform to the above.
(c) Reporting of navigation incidents.
In furtherance of increased safety on waterways the following safety rules are hereby prescribed for all navigation interests:
Any incident resulting in uncontrolled barges shall immediately be reported to the nearest lock. The report shall include information as to the number of loose barges, their cargo, and the time and location where they broke loose. The lockmaster or locks shall be kept informed of the progress being made in bringing the barges under control so that he can initiate whatever actions may be warranted.
Whenever barges are temporarily moored at other than commercial terminals or established fleeting areas, and their breaking away could endanger a lock, the nearest lock shall be so notified, preferably the downstream lock.
Sunken or sinking barges shall be reported to the nearest lock both downstream and upstream of the location in order that other traffic passing those points may be advised of the hazards.
In the event of an oil spill, notify the nearest lock downstream, specifying the time and location of the incident, type of oil, amount of spill, and what recovery or controlling measures are being employed.
Any other activity on the waterways that could conceivably endanger navigation or a navigation structure shall be reported to the nearest lock.
Whenever it is necessary to report an incident involving uncontrolled, sunken or sinking barges, the cargo in the barges shall be accurately identified.
(d) Precedence at locks.
The vessel arriving first at a lock shall normally be first to lock through, but precedence shall be given to vessels belonging to the United States. Licensed commercial passenger vessels operating on a published schedule or regularly operating in the “for hire” trade shall have precedence over cargo tows and like craft. Commercial cargo tows shall have precedence over recreational craft, except as described in paragraph (f) of this section.
Arrival posts or markers may be established ashore above and/or below the locks. Vessels arriving at or opposite such posts or markers will be considered as having arrived at the locks within the meaning of this paragraph. Precedence may be established visually or by radio communication. The lockmaster may prescribe such departure from the normal order of precedence as in his judgment is warranted to achieve best lock utilization.
(e) Unnecessary delay at locks.
Masters and pilots must use every precaution to prevent unnecessary delay in entering or leaving locks. Vessels failing to enter locks with reasonable promptness when signalled to do so shall lose their turn. Rearranging or switching of barges in the locks or in approaches is prohibited unless approved or directed by the lockmaster. This is not meant to curtail “jackknifing” or set-overs where normally practiced.
(f) Lockage of recreational craft.
In order to fully utilize the capacity of the lock, the lockage of recreational craft shall be expedited by locking them through with commercial craft: Provided, That both parties agree to joint use of the chamber. When recreational craft are locked simultaneously with commercial tows, the lockmaster will direct, whenever practicable, that the recreational craft enter the lock and depart while the tow is secured in the lock. Recreational craft will not be locked through with vessels carrying volatile cargoes or other substances likely to emit toxic or explosive vapors. If the lockage of recreational craft cannot be accomplished within the time required for three other lockages, a separate lockage of recreational craft shall be made. Recreational craft operators are advised that many locks have a pull chain located at each end of the lock which signals the lockmaster that lockage is desired. Furthermore, many Mississippi River locks utilize a strobe light at the lock to signal recreational type vessels that the lock is ready for entry. Such lights are used exclusively to signal recreational craft.
(g) Simultaneous lockage of tows with dangerous cargoes.
Simultaneous lockage of other tows with tows carrying dangerous cargoes or containing flammable vapors normally will only be permitted when there is agreement between the lockmaster and both vessel masters that the simultaneous lockage can be executed safely. He shall make a separate decision each time such action seems safe and appropriate, provided:
The first vessel or tow in and the last vessel or tow out are secured before the other enters or leaves.
Any vessel or tow carrying dangerous cargoes is not leaking.
All masters involved have agreed to the joint use of the lock chamber.
(h) Stations while awaiting a lockage.
Vessels awaiting their turn to lock shall remain sufficiently clear of the structure to allow unobstructed departure for the vessel leaving the lock. However, to the extent practicable under the prevailing conditions, vessels and tows shall position themselves so as to minimize approach time when signaled to do so.
(i) Stations while awaiting access through navigable pass.
When navigable dams are up or are in the process of being raised or lowered, vessels desiring to use the pass shall wait outside the limits of the approach points unless authorized otherwise by the lockmaster.
Signals from vessels shall ordinarily be by whistle; signals from locks to vessels shall be by whistle, another sound device, or visual means. when a whistle is used, long blasts of the whistle shall not exceed 10 seconds and short blasts of the whistle shall not exceed 3 seconds. Where a lock is not provided with a sound or visual signal installation, the lockmaster will indicate by voice or by the wave of a hand when the vessel may enter or leave the lock. Vessels must approach the locks with caution and shall not enter nor leave the lock until signaled to do so by the lockmaster. The following lockage signals are prescribed:
(1) Sound signals by means of a whistle.
These signals apply at either a single lock or twin locks.
Vessels desiring lockage shall on approaching a lock give the following signals at a distance of not more than one mile from the lock;
(a) If a single lockage only is required: One long blast of the whistle followed by one short blast.
(b) If a double lockage is required: One long blast of the whistle followed by two short blasts.
When the lock is ready for entrance, the lock will give the following signals:
(a) One long blast of the whistle indicates permission to enter the lock chamber in the case of a single lock or to enter the landward chamber in the case of twin locks.
(b) Two long blasts of the whistle indicates permission to enter the riverward chamber in the case of twin locks.
Permission to leave the locks will be indicated by the following signals given by the lock:
(a) One short blast of the whistle indicates permission to leave the lock chamber in the case of a single lock or to leave the landward chamber in the case of twin locks.
(b) Two short blasts of the whistle indicates permission to leave the riverward chamber in the case of twin locks.
Four or more short blasts of the lock whistle delivered in rapid succession will be used as a means of attracting attention, to indicate caution, and to signal danger. This signal will be used to attract the attention of the captain and crews of vessels using or approaching the lock or navigating in its vicinity and to indicate that something unusual involving danger or requiring special caution is happening or is about to take place. When this signal is given by the lock, the captains and crews of vessels in the vicinity shall immediately become on the alert to determine the reason for the signal and shall take the necessary steps to cope with the situation.
(2) Lock signal lights.
At locks where density of traffic or other local conditions make it advisable, the sound signals from the lock will be supplemented by signal lights. Flashing lights (showing a one-second flash followed by a two-second eclipse) will be located on or near each end of the land wall to control use of a single lock or of the landward lock of double locks. In addition, at double locks, interrupted flashing lights (showing a one-second flash, a one-second eclipse and a one-second flash, followed by a three-second eclipse) will be located on or near each end of the intermediate wall to control use of the riverward lock. Navigation will be governed as follows:
(i) Red light.
Lock cannot be made ready immediately. Vessel shall stand clear.
(ii) Amber light.
Lock is being made ready. Vessel may approach but under full control.
(iii) Green light.
Lock is ready for entrance.
(iv) Green and amber.
Lock is ready for entrance but gates cannot be recessed completely. Vessel may enter under full control and with extreme caution.
(3) Radio communications.
VHF-FM radios, operating in the FCC authorized Maritime Band, have been installed at all operational locks (except those on the Kentucky River and Lock 3, Green River). Radio contact may be made by any vessel desiring passage. Commercial tows are especially requested to make contact at least one half hour before arrival in order that the pilot may be informed of current river and traffic conditions that may affect the safe passage of his tow.
All locks monitor 156.8 MHz (Ch. 16) and 156.65 MHz (Ch. 13) and can work 156.65 MHz (Ch. 13) and 156.7 MHz (Ch. 14) Ch. 16 is the authorized call, reply and distress frequency, and locks are not permitted to work on this frequency except in an emergency involving the risk of immediate loss of life or property. Vessels may call and work Ch. 13, without switching, but are cautioned that vessel to lock traffic must not interrupt or delay Bridge to Bridge traffic which has priority at all times.
Rafts to be locked through shall be moored in such manner as not to obstruct the entrance of the lock, and if to be locked in sections, shall be brought to the lock as directed by the lockmaster. After passing the lock the sections shall be reassembled at such distance beyond the lock as not to interfere with other vessels.
(l) Entrance to and exit from locks.
In case two or more boats or tows are to enter for the same lockage, their order of entry shall be determined by the lockmaster. Except as directed by the lockmaster, no boat shall pass another in the lock. In no case will boats be permitted to enter or leave the locks until directed to do so by the lockmaster. The sides of all craft passing through any lock shall be free from projections of any kind which might injure the lock walls. All vessels shall be provided with suitable fenders, and shall be used to protect the lock and guide walls until it has cleared the lock and guide walls.
(1) At locks.
All vessels when in the locks shall be moored as directed by the lockmaster. Vessels shall be moored with bow and stern lines leading in opposite directions to prevent the vessel from “running” in the lock. All vessels will have one additional line available on the head of the tow for emergency use. The pilothouse shall be attended by qualified personnel during the entire locking procedure. When the vessel is securely moored, the pilot shall not cause movement of the propellers except in emergency or unless directed by the lockmaster. Tying to lock ladders is strictly prohibited.
Mooring of unattended or nonpropelled vessels or small craft at the upper or lower channel approaches will not be permitted within 1200 feet of the lock.
(2) Outside of locks.
No vessel or other craft shall regularly or permanently moor in any reach of a navigation channel. The approximate centerline of such channels are marked as the sailing line on Corps of Engineers' navigation charts. Nor shall any floating craft, except in an emergency, moor in any narrow or hazardous section of the waterway. Furthermore, all vessels or other craft are prohibited from regularly or permanently mooring in any section of navigable waterways which are congested with commercial facilities or traffic unless it is moored at facilities approved by the Secretary of the Army or his authorized representative. The limits of the congested areas shall be marked on Corps of Engineers' navigation charts. However, the District Engineer may authorize in writing exceptions to any of the above if, in his judgment, such mooring would not adversely affect navigation and anchorage.
No vessel or other craft shall be moored to railroad tracks, to riverbanks in the vicinity of railroad tracks when such mooring threatens the safety of equipment using such tracks, to telephone poles or power poles, or to bridges or similar structures used by the public.
Except in case of great emergency, no vessel or craft shall anchor over revetted banks of the river, and no floating plant other than launches and similar small craft shall land against banks protected by revetment except at regular commercial landings. In all cases, every precaution to avoid damage to the revetment works shall be exercised. The construction of log rafts along mattressed or paved banks or the tying up and landing of log rafts against such banks shall be performed in such a manner as to cause no damage to the mattress work or bank paving. Generally, mattress work extends out into the river 600 feet from the low water line.
Any vessel utilizing a federally constructed mooring facility (e.g., cells, buoys, anchor rings) at the points designated on the current issue of the Corps' navigation charts shall advise the lockmaster at the nearest lock from that point by the most expeditious means.
(n) Draft of vessels.
No vessel shall attempt to enter a lock unless its draft is at least three inches less than the least depth of water over the guard sills, or over the gate sills if there be no guard sills. Information concerning controlling depth over sills can be obtained from the lockmaster at each lock or by inquiry at the office of the district engineer of the district in which the lock is located.
(o) Handling machinery.
No one but employees of the United States shall move any lock machinery except as directed by the lockmaster. Tampering or meddling with the machinery or other parts of the lock is strictly forbidden.
(p) Refuse in locks.
Placing or discharging refuse of any description into the lock, on lock walls or esplanade, canal or canal bank is prohibited.
(q) Damage to locks or other work.
To avoid damage to plant and structures connected with the construction or repair of locks and dams, vessels passing structures in the process of construction or repair shall reduce their speed and navigate with special caution while in the vicinity of such work. The restrictions and admonitions contained in these regulations shall not affect the liability of the owners and operators of floating craft for any damage to locks or other structures caused by the operation of such craft.
(r) Trespass of lock property.
Trespass on locks or dams or other U.S. property pertaining to the locks or dams is strictly prohibited except in those areas specifically permitted. Parties committing any injury to the locks or dams or to any part thereof will be responsible therefor. Any person committing a willful injury to any U.S. property will be prosecuted. No fishing will be permitted from lock walls, guide walls, or guard walls of any lock or from any dam, except in areas designated and posted by the responsible District Engineer as fishing areas. Personnel from commercial and recreational craft will be allowed on the lock structure for legitimate business reasons; e.g., crew changes, emergency phone calls, etc.
(s) Restricted areas at locks and dams.
All waters immediately above and below each dam, as posted by the respective District Engineers, are hereby designated as restricted areas. No vessel or other floating craft shall enter any such restricted area at any time. The limits of the restricted areas at each dam will be determined by the responsible District Engineer and market by signs and/or flashing red lights installed in conspicuous and appropriate places.
(u) Operations during high water and floods in designated vulnerable areas.
Vessels operating on these waters during periods when river stages exceed the level of “ordinary high water,” as designated on Corps of Engineers' navigation charts, shall exercise reasonable care to minimize the effects of their bow waves and propeller washes on river banks; submerged or partially submerged structures or habitations; terrestrial growth such as trees and bushes; and man-made amenities that may be present. Vessels shall operate carefully when passing close to levees and other flood protection works, and shall observe minimum distances from banks which may be prescribed from time to time in Notices to Navigation Interests. Pilots should exercise particular care not to direct propeller wash at river banks, levees, revetments, structures or other appurtenances subject to damage from wave action.
(v) Navigation lights for use at all locks and dams except on the Kentucky River and Lock 3, Green River.
At locks at all fixed dams and at locks at all movable dams when the dams are up so that there is no navigable pass through the dam, the following navigation lights will be displayed during hours of darkness:
Three green lights visible through an arc of 360° arranged in a vertical line on the upstream end of the river (guard) wall unless the intermediate wall extends farther upstream. In the latter case, the lights will be placed on the upstream end of the intermediate wall.
Two green lights visible through an arc of 360° arranged in a vertical line on the downstream end of the river (guard) wall unless the intermediate wall extends farther downstream. In the latter case, the lights will be placed on the downstream end of the intermediate wall.
A single red light, visible through an arc of 360° on each end (upstream and downstream) of the land (guide) wall.
At movable dams when the dam has been lowered or partly lowered so that there is an unobstructed navigable pass through the dam, the navigation lights indicated in the following paragraphs will be displayed during hours of darkness until lock walls and weir piers are awash.
Three red lights visible through an arc of 360° arranged in a vertical line on the upstream end of the river (guard) wall.
Two red lights visible through an arc of 360° arranged in a vertical line on the downstream end of the river (guard) wall.
A single red light visible through an arc of 360° on each end (upstream and downstream) of the land (guide) wall.
After lock walls and weir piers are awash they will be marked as prescribed in paragraph (x) of this section.
If one or more bear traps or weirs are open or partially open, and may cause a set in current conditions at the upper approach to the locks, this fact will be indicated by displaying a white circular disk 5 feet in diameter, on or near the light support on the upstream end of the land (guide) wall during the hours of daylight, and will be indicated during hours of darkness by displaying a white (amber) light vertically under and 5 feet below the red light on the upstream end of the land (guide) wall.
At Locks No. 1 and 2, Green River, when the locks are not in operation because of high river stages, a single red light visible through an arc of 360° will be displayed on each end (upstream and downstream) of the lock river (guard) will at which time the lights referred to above will not be visible.
(w) Navigation lights for use at locks and dams on the Kentucky River and Lock 3, Green River.
A single red light visible through an arc of 360° shall be displayed during hours of darkness at each end of the river wall or extending guard structures until these structures are awash.
(x) Buoys at movable dams.
Whenever the river (guard) wall of the lock and any portion of the dam are awash, and until covered by a depth of water equal to the project depth, the limits of the navigable pass through the dam will be marked by buoys located at the upstream and downstream ends of the river (guard) wall, and by a single buoy over the end or ends of the portion or portions of the dam adjacent to the navigable pass over which project depth is not available. A red nun-type buoy will be used for such structures located on the left-hand side (facing downstream) of the river and a black can-type buoy for such structures located on the right-hand side. Buoys will be lighted, if practicable.
Where powerhouses or other substantial structures projecting considerably above the level of the lock wall are located on the river (guard) wall, a single red light located on top of one of these structures may be used instead of river wall buoys prescribed above until these structures are awash, after which they will be marked by a buoy of appropriate type and color (red nun or black can buoy) until covered by a depth of water equal to the project depth. Buoys will be lighted, if practicable.
(y) Vessels to carry regulations.
A copy of these regulations shall be kept at all times on board each vessel regularly engaged in navigating the rivers to which these regulations apply. Copies may be obtained from any lock office or District Engineer's office on request. Masters of such vessels are encouraged to have on board copies of the current edition of appropriate navigation charts.
[40 FR 32121, July 31, 1975, as amended at 50 FR 37580, Sept. 18, 1985; 56 FR 13765, Apr. 4, 1991]