University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

United States Army Corps of Engineers / Upper Mississippi River navigation charts

Regulations prescribed by the secretary of the army for Mississippi River above Cairo, Ill., and its tributaries; use, administration and navigation

Section 7 of the River and Harbor Act of August 8, 1917, provides as follows:
"That it shall be the duty of the Secretary of War to prescribe such
regulations for the use, 
administration, and navigation of the navigable waters of the United States
as in his judg- 
ment the public necessity may require for the protection of life and property,
or of operations 
of the United States in channel improvement, covering all matters not specifically
by law to some other executive department. Such regulations shall be posted,
in conspicuous 
and appropriate places, for the information of the public; and every person
and every corpora- 
tion which shall violate such regulations shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor,
and on con- 
viction thereof in any district court of the United States within whose territorial
such offense may have been committed, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding
$500, or by 
imprisonment (in the case of a natural person) not exceeding six months,
in the discretion of 
the court." 
In pursuance of the law above quoted, the following regulations were prescribed
to govern 
the use, administration, and navigation of the Mississippi River above Cairo,
Ill., and its 
207.300 Mississippi River above Cairo, Ill., and its tributaries; use, administration,
and navi- 
(a) Authority of Lockmasters. The lockmaster shall be charged with the immediate
trol and management of the lock, and of the area set aside as the lock area,
including the lock 
approach channels. He 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 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, boat, or other floating thing in
the lock or approaches 
except by or under the direction of the lockmaster or his assistants. In
the event of an 
emergency, the lockmaster may depart from these regulations as he deems necessary.
lockmasters shall also be charged with the control and management of Federally
mooring facilities. 
(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 depar- 
ting a lock: 
(1) Tows with Flammable or Hazardous Cargo Barges, Loaded or Empty. 
(i) Stripping barges or transferring cargo is prohibited. 
(ii) All hatches on barges used to transport flammable or hazardous materials
shall be 
closed and latched, except those barges carrying a gas-free certificate.
(iii) Spark-proof protective rubbing fenders ("possums") shall
be used. 
(2) All Vessels. 
(i) Leaking vessels may be excluded from locks until they have been repaired
to the 
satisfaction of the lockmaster. 
(ii) Smoking, open flames, and chipping or other spark-producing activities
prohibited on deck during the locking cycle. 
(iii) Painting will not be permitted in the lock chamber during the locking
(iv) 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. 
(v) U.S. Coast Guard Regulations require all vessels to have on board life
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 re- 
quired by Coast Guard Regulations to have work vests aboard shall have at
least the prescrib- 
ed 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:
(1) 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 orlocks
shall be kept 
informed of the progress being made in bringing the barges under control
so that he can ini- 
tiate whatever actions may be warranted. 
(2) Whenever barges are temporarily moored at other than commercial terminals
or es- 
tablished fleeting areas and their breaking away could endanger a lock, the
nearest lock shall 
be so notified, preferably the downstream lock. 
(3) Sunken or sinkingbarges shall be reported to the nearest lock both downstream
upstream of the location in order that other traffic passing these points
may be advised of the 
(4) In the event of an oil spill, notify the nearest lock downstream, specifying
the time 
and location of the incident, type of spill and what recovery or controlling
measures are being 
(5) Any other activity on the waterways that could conceivably endanger navigation
or a 
navigation structure shall be reported to the nearest lock. 
(6) 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 
(1) The vessel arriving first at a lock shall normally be first to lock through,
precedence shall be given to vessels belonging to the United States. Licensed
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).
(2) 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
(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 ex- 
plosive vapors. If the lockage of recreational craft can not 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 Mississip- 
pi 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
(g) Simultaneous Lockage of Tows with Dangerous Cargoes. Simultaneous lockage
other tows with tows carrying dangerous cargoes or containing flammable vapors
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 deci- 
sion each time such action seems safe and appropriate, provided: 
(1) The first vessel or tow in and the last vessel or tow out are secured
before the other 
enters or leaves. 
(2) Any vessel or tow carrying dangerous cargoes is not leaking. 
(3) All masters involved have agreed to the joint use of the lock chamber.
(h) Stations While Awaiting 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.
(j) Sign als. 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 haid when the vessel
may enter or leave 
the lock. Vessels must approach the locks with caution and shall not enter
nor leave 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. 
(i) 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. 
(ii) When the lock is ready for entrance, the lock will give the following
(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. 
(iii) Permission to leave the locks will be indicated by the following signals
given by 
the lock: 

Go up to Top of Page