Summer is officially here, and that means boating season.
While water safety is important, you need to take extra precautions around locks and dams.
“We’re here to lock anybody that wants to lock,” said Matthew Edgar, Lock and Dam Equipment Mechanic Supervisor for the Hannibal Locks and Dam. “The only thing we ask that you be safe. We don’t do it to be aggravating. We do it to possibly safe your life.”)
The safety rules around the locks and dam are simple.
Whether you’re on the upper or lower side, never cross over the danger dam buoys, which are roughly 1,000 feet away from the dam.
“If you go below that, that’s where the current will take you to the dam gate and once you get close enough to that gate uh you won’t be able to get out,” Edgar explained.
All commercial and recreational vessels must notify the lock that they would like to come through as they near the arriving point.
They can contact the lock on Channel 13 of their radio, or call 740-483-2305 on a cell phone to get passage through the lock.
After radioing in, the next thing to remember is always wear a life vest. No one will be allowed through the lock without one.
Then, wait for the green light and proceed through.
“They should be going at a speed that they don’t create a wake until they clear the end of the walls on the lock,” Edgar added. “Then once they clear the walls then they can get back up to speed.”
Locking for all boats is free and even kayaks and canoes can pass through.
Last year the Hannibal Locks and Dam had 4,225 commercial tows come through and 362 recreational tows.
Edgar warns those in kayaks or smaller crafts to stay away from commercial traffic and take extra precaution if you’re new to the water.
“If you’re gonna have a kayak or anything like that, you should take a safe boating course or something before you put those in the river and at least have some experience of what you’re looking for,” he explained.