Boats can move from one TVA-managed reservoir to another through a series of well-planned locks. Here’s what you need to know to go through a lock safely.
Moving from one reservoir to another, or “locking through,” is a free service with facilities provided by TVA and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The process usually takes 45 minutes to an hour, but may take longer when commercial traffic is heavy.
All boats entering locks should have at least 50 feet of rope or line that can be used to moor the boat to floating mooring bits (posts) on the lock chamber wall, which move as the water levels in the lock fluctuate. Also, make sure to use fenders to avoid damage from scraping the lock wall or another boat.
Enter the lock at no-wake speed. Tie off your boat to a floating mooring post; do not tie it to a ladder or any other fixed structure within the lock. In a crowded lock chamber, you may also be asked to tie off another boat.
Engines should be shut down during the lockage, passengers should remain seated, and everyone aboard should wear a personal floatation device during the entire process.
Remain moored until the lockage is complete, the gate is fully open and the lock operator signals you to exit the lock. Exit at no-wake speed, and do not pass any other vessels as you exit the lock.