MASTERING THE SHINNECOCK LOCKS, courtesy of the AMI Boater’s Guide:
LOCKS are designed to raise and lower boats from one water level to another, allowing vessels to travel upstream and downstream.
The locks are open 24 hours as day. However, based on prevailing tide conditions, the locks may be closed in either direction for intervals of 10-15 minutes at a time.
The lock operator controls all movement of boats through the lock by light signals or horn devices. You can reach the lock tender at 631-852-8299. The following are tips and suggestions for a safe and pleasurable trip through the locks; locking through is easy!
APPROACHING THE LOCKS. When approaching the lock, boaters should stop at a safe distance and follow specified signals. Boaters must give three (3) distinct blasts on the horn, whistle, or other signaling devices. Lock operators will replay with lights in the following manner:
§ GREEN – Lock is ready, craft may advance.
§ RED – Craft must wait.
§ NO LIGHT – Craft must wait or tie up to approach wall.
§ 6 FLASHES OF RED OR GREEN – Remain stopped and wait for further instructions.
Keep the channel near the lock gates clear and allow boats departing or entering the lock a safe and easy passage. Be patient if lock staff are not ready to lock you through immediately since they often have other water management duties.
ENTERING THE LOCK. On entering the lock chamber, vessels must proceed under control at a safe reduced speed. All boats must be equipped with adequate mooring lines and fenders. Lock operators are not required to handle or furnish lines. As you near the walls of the lock chamber, have your crew members ready to loop their lines around the snubbing posts, lock wall ladders, and tie lines; be sure to loop, do not tie your lines or your boat may be left hanging or damaged as the water level changes. Be alert to other boats entering behind you and move forward if necessary. Serious injury can result from using your hands or feet to fend off a wall. Use a boat hook, oar or paddle. Line handlers should wear PDFs. Passengers who are not involved should remain seated.
IN THE LOCK CHAMBER. Follow directions of the lock operator and when safely positioned against the chamber walls with lines looped, turn off your engine (but leave the bilge blower on) and do not smoke or operate open flame appliances. Never leave your boat unattended in the lock.
EXITING THE LOCK. As soon as the water in the lock chamber reaches the proper level, the gates will be opened, boaters should cast off all lines and proceed at a reduced speed to exit the chamber in station order. Remember to observe posted speed limits and stay clear of dams in lock areas.
NOTE: Be aware of possible very swift moving currents while transiting the Locks and Shinnecock Canal area!