Bridge and Lock Tender Career

Job Description: Operate and tend bridges, canal locks, and lighthouses to permit marine passage on inland waterways, near shores, and at danger points in waterway passages. May supervise such operations. Includes drawbridge operators, lock operators, and slip bridge operators.


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Bridge and Lock Tender Career

What Bridge and Lock Tenders do:

  • Control machinery to open and close canal locks and dams, railroad or highway drawbridges, or horizontally or vertically adjustable bridges.
  • Record names, types, and destinations of vessels passing through bridge openings or locks, and numbers of trains or vehicles crossing bridges.
  • Direct movements of vessels in locks or bridge areas, using signals, telecommunication equipment, or loudspeakers.
  • Log data, such as water levels and weather conditions.
  • Move levers to activate traffic signals, navigation lights, and alarms.
  • Perform maintenance duties, such as sweeping, painting, and yard work to keep facilities clean and in order.
  • Observe position and progress of vessels to ensure best use of lock spaces or bridge opening spaces.
  • Prepare accident reports.
  • Observe approaching vessels to determine size and speed, and listen for whistle signals indicating desire to pass.
  • Write and submit maintenance work requisitions.
  • Inspect canal and bridge equipment, and areas, such as roadbeds, for damage or defects, reporting problems to supervisors as necessary.
  • Check that bridges are clear of vehicles and pedestrians prior to opening.
  • Raise drawbridges and observe passage of water traffic or lower drawbridges and raise automobile gates.
  • Stop automobile and pedestrian traffic on bridges, and lower automobile gates prior to moving bridges.
  • Attach ropes or cable lines to bitts on lock decks or wharfs to secure vessels.
  • Maintain and guard stations in bridges to check waterways for boat traffic.
  • Turn valves to increase or decrease water levels in locks.
  • Clean and lubricate equipment, and make minor repairs and adjustments.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Holland Code Chart for a Bridge and Lock Tender