33 CFR 207.590 - Black Rock Canal and Lock at Buffalo, N.Y.; use, administration, and navigation.
(a) The term “canal” when used in this section will mean all of the Black Rock Waterway, including Black Rock Lock, and all of the lands, piers, buildings, and other appurtenances acquired by letters patent from the State of New York, or constructed for the use of the waterway; the southerly limit thereof being at the southerly end of Bird Island Pier, and the northerly limit being at the downstream end of the guide pier, Black Rock Lock, a length of 3.7 miles.
(b) The canal and all of its appurtenances and the use, administration and navigation thereof shall be in charge of the District Engineer, U.S. Army Engineer District, in charge of the locality, or his authorized agents.
(c) The movement of all vessels, boats, or other floating things in the canal shall be under the direction of the authorized agents of the District Engineer in charge, and their orders and instructions must be obeyed.
(d) For passage through the canal, vessels or boats belonging to the U.S. Government shall have precedence over all others.
(e) All registered vessels or boats must pass through the canal in order of their arrival at the canal limits, unless otherwise directed in accordance with this section.
(g) No vessel shall pass or approach within 1/4-mile of a vessel bound in the same direction in the Black Rock Canal south of the Ferry Street Bridge. Tugs without tows, tugs towing a single barge under 150 feet in length, and single vessels under 150 feet in length are exempt from this paragraph.
(h) No vessel or boat shall anchor in or moor along the canal except at localities specially designated by the District Engineer or his agent; and no business, trading, or landing of freight or baggage, except such articles as may be readily carried in the hand, will be allowed on or over the canal lands or structures, without the permission of the District Engineer or his agent.
(i) No person or operator of a vessel in the Black Rock Canal, lock or approaching channels shall throw or discharge or permit to be thrown or discharged any solid material of any kind or any petroleum product of any kind into the canal, lock or appurtenant waters.
(j) All vessels and tows shall be navigated with care so as not to strike or disturb the channel buoys or channel markers. If a buoy or other channel marker is accidentally struck, damaged or displaced, the fact shall be reported immediately to the Black Rock Lock, foot of Bridge Street, Buffalo, N.Y., telephone 876-5454.
(k) Ferry Street Bridge: The clearheadroom under the bridge at low water datum is 17.3 feet for a width of 86 feet from the pivot pier, thence decreasing to 12.3 feet at the left (westerly) abutment.
(1) All vessels and boats which cannot pass under the bridge shall, on approaching the bridge, reduce speed sufficiently to enable them to come to a dead stop, without touching the bridge, in case the movable span cannot be lifted. If the wind is dangerously strong, passage of the bridge shall not be attempted by large vessels without the aid of a tug or tugs.
(2) Vessels and boats bound north shall have the right-of-way and priority for passage through the bridge over those bound south.
(3) All vessels and boats desiring passage through the bridge shall signal therefor by one long and two short whistle blasts.
(4) Upon receiving the opening signal, the bridge operator shall answer by giving the same signal on the bridge whistle and he shall then proceed at once to lift the bridge.
(5) In case the bridge cannot be lifted, for any cause, the bridge operator shall answer a vessel signal by giving five short whistle blasts; and the vessel shall then be stopped until the bridge is ready to be lifted, when the bridge operator shall give the whistle signal for passage and the vessel may proceed.
(6) In case the bridge is disabled so that it cannot be lifted for one-half hour or more pending repairs, red flags will be displayed on the bridge in daytime and two red lantern lights, one above the other, at night; and when such signals are displayed no vessel or boat shall signal for or attempt passage through the bridge.
(l) Radio control of vessel movement in Black Rock Canal. (1) The movement of vessels in the Black Rock Canal will be controlled by radio communication between the Black Rock Lock and the vessels desiring to use the canal. Vessels will not be permitted to meet or pass in the channel of restricted width between the southerly end of Bird Island (approximately 3,500 feet northerly along the canal from the North Breakwater South End Light) and the International Railway Bridge near the southerly entrance to the Black Rock Lock. Vessels less than 150 feet in length and tugs towing a single barge under 150 feet in length are not to be included in this special condition. In addition to the control of vessel movements in the restricted section of the canal, radio communications will also be utilized to facilitiate the passage of vessels through the entire canal and the Black Rock Lock.
(2) Radio communication will be the only means of control of vessel traffic in the canal in order to prevent a meeting or passing of vessels in the restricted area, and therefore it is mandatory that all vessels over 150 feet in length and tugs towing a barge or barges over 150 feet in combined length of tow be equipped with radio communication equipment operating on designated frequencies. Any vessel lacking such equipment will not be permitted to enter the canal unless arrangements are made with the Black Rock Lock by land telephone to 876-5454 or marine ship-to-shore facilities immediately before entering the canal.
(3) The Black Rock Lock radio communication equipment operates on VHF(FM) frequencies as follows: VHF - 156.8 Mcs - Channel 16 - Safety and Calling, VHF - 156.7 Mcs - Channel 14 - Working; VHF - 156.6 Mcs - Channel 12 Working. A listening watch is maintained on VHF Channel 16.
(4) In order that positive control may be maintained it is mandatory that the following procedures be followed in communicating by radio with the Black Rock Lock:
(i) Vessels desiring to enter the Black Rock Canal from either the Buffalo Outer Harbor or the Buffalo River shall call the Black Rock Lock on VHF Channel 16 or by land telephone approximately 15 minutes before the estimated time of arrival at Buffalo Harbor Traffic Lighted Bell Buoy 1 located at latitude N. 42°50.1′ and longitude W. 78°55.4′. Information to be furnished the Black Rock Lock Operator should include the name of the vessel, position, destination, length, draft (forward and aft) and the type of cargo. A second call shall be made to the lock when the vessel is abreast of the Buffalo Harbor Light on the southerly end of the detached West Breakwater. Information furnished the vessel by the Lock Operator will assure the vessel operator of the proper time to enter the Black Rock Canal with a view to safety and minimum delay.
(ii) Vessels desiring to enter the Black Rock Canal from either the Buffalo Outer Harbor or the Buffalo River shall call the Black Rock Lock on VHF Channel 16 or by land telephone to 876-5454 immediately before departing a dock and again when abreast of the North Breakwater South End Light on the southerly end of the North Breakwater.
(iii) In any radio communication from a vessel to the Black Rock Lock, and VHF(FM) frequencies will be utilized.
(iv) In any radio communication from a vessel to the Black Rock Lock, the VHF (FM) frequencies will be utilized if available in preference to the MF (AM) frequencies.
(v) When an initial radio contact has been made with the Black Rock Lock the vessel entering the canal shall maintain a standby watch at the radio until the passage through the canal and lock is completed.
(vi) Failure to comply with the foregoing procedures could result in considerable delay to a vessel and possibly in a collision between vessels in the restricted section of the canal.
(m) Black Rock Lock. All vessels and boats desiring to use the lock shall signal by two long and two short whistle blasts.
(1) Northbound vessels and boats shall not be brought to within less than 300 feet of the upper lock gates, nor shall southbound vessels be brought to within less than 200 feet of the lower lock gates, until the lock is made ready and the lockmaster in charge signals the vessel to enter the lock.
(2) Vessels and boats shall not moor to the approach walls of the lock at either end, for any other purpose than waiting for lockage, except by direction or permission of the lockmaster.
(3) Commercial vessels will receive perference in passage through the locks. Small vessels such as row, sail, and motor boats, bent on pleasure only, will be passed through the lock in company with commercial vessels when small vessels can be safely accomodated or in the absence of commercial vessels may be passed through the lock individually or together in one lockage on the hour if northbound and on the half hour if southbound. However, commercial vessels will receive preference which could delay the passage of pleasure craft. Pleasure craft will not be permitted to pass through the lock with vessels carrying inflammable cargo. Vessels and other large boats when in the lock shall fasten one head line and one spring line to the snubbing posts on the lock walls, and the lines shall not be cast off until the signal is given by the lockmaster for the boats to leave the lock.
(4) Vessels and boats will be passed through the lock in order of their arrival except that the lockmaster may order a small vessel to lock through in company with another vessel, irrespective of the former's order of arrival.
(5) All vessels and boats shall be maneuvered with great care so as not to strike any part of the lock walls, or any gate or appurtenance thereto, or machinery for operating the gates, or the walls protecting the lock approaches.
(6) Vessels and boats shall not enter or leave until the lock gates are fully in their recesses, and the lockmaster has given direction for starting.
(8) Trespass on lock property is strictly prohibited. However, in that portion of the Black Rock Canal lying between the International Railway Bridge and the northerly end of the westerly lower guide pier, the following conditions shall apply to the embarking or disembarking of crew members or passengers of a vessel transiting the lock:
(i) Only the master or mate and two or three linesmen will be permitted to go ashore from transiting vessels and then only for normal operations and business incident to the transit. A maximum of only four (4) men will be permitted to go ashore from any one ship.
(ii) No crew members will be permitted to board a ship at the locks unless previously requested in writing by the master or owners, and approved by canal authorities.
(iii) No crew member may leave a ship while it is in transit in the lock or canal unless certified in advance as an emergency by the vessel master and approved by canal authorities.
(iv) No guest passengers will be permitted to either board or disembark at the canal or locks.
(9) Schedule of Seasonal Operation:
(i) March 23 through June 14 - 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., daily.
(ii) June 15 through September 6-24 hours, daily.
(iii) September 7 through November 30 - 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., daily.
(iv) December 1 through March 22 - 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily. During the navigation season the hours may be extended by the district engineer, depending on conditions and the need for lockage service. Public notices will be issued announcing the opening and closing dates at least 10 days in advance of such dates.
(10) Non-operational hours lockings. In addition to the above schedule of operating hours, commercial vessels may be locked through during non-operational hours with prior arrangements made through the U.S. Army Engineer District, Buffalo. Requests for non-operational hours lockings shall be made at lease 24 hours in advance by calling (716) 876-5454, extension 2284 or by radio as described in paragraph (l) of this section, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except holidays. Requests shall include the approximate time of arrival and the name and call letters of the vessel or, if the vessel is not equipped to receive radio messages, a telephone number at which messages may be received for the vessel. If a requested lockage must be delayed, prompt notification shall be given by telephone or radio.