The Muskingum River has 10 locks, reaching from Dresden's Ellis Dam to Marietta on the Ohio River.
A trip on the Muskingum River Parkway is not complete without going through one of the ten locks. These manually-operated locks are similar to those built throughout the United States before the turn of the century.
When approaching the locks, boats must stay between the red and green buoys which mark the river's navigable channel. Boats approaching the lock must give a signal of one long whistle blast followed by one short blast at least 800 feet away from the lock. Boats must stay at least 300 to 400 feet clear of the lock until signaled by the lockmaster that they may enter. When entering or departing a lock, speed should be reduced to produce no wake and possible damage to other boats.
Entrance to the lock from the river:
The heavy wooden lock gates:
After entering the lock, boaters must secure their craft to mooring cables on the lock walls. The lockmaster will assist this procedure. Boaters must stand by to take in or let out the mooring line in relation to the water level. Each boater must provide their own mooring line of at least 75 feet.
Lockmaster opening/closing the lock gates manually with hand cranks
The lowering or raising of the pool level will begin only after all lines are secure. By opening the upriver valves, water is allowed to flow slowly into the lock chamber bringing the water and boats up to the required height. When opened, the downriver valves allow the pool level to drop slowly.
After the lock pool has reached the desired level, the lock gate is opened. The lockmaster will signal that all is clear and the pilot may move his boat from the lock. The lockmaster is in complete charge of the operation and control of the locks and may determine the number of watercraft to lock through.