Site  Updated:
October 01, 2012

Okeechobee Locks
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All five locks along the Okeechobee Waterway are shown on Sketch Chart Seventeen (and, of course, on  NOAA Charts 1127 & 1128). For your convenience, we also have them listed here along with all pertinent information regarding their operation. To match the flow of our narrative text, they are listed as they occur when going west from Stuart to Fort Myers. If you have any questions regarding locks, their operation or the Okeechobee Waterway in general (such as the current water level), call US Army Corps of Engineers, South Florida Operations Office,  at 863-983-8101 or simply click HERE. Clicking on [Chart] takes you to the lock’s location on the Sketch Chart.

Mile 15: St. Lucie Lock & Dam [Chart] Lock operates from 6AM-9:30PM. (Most locking through on south side.)
Hail lock on VHF CH 13St. Lucie Lock also has camping facilities, limited dockage, & launching ramp.

Mile 37: Port Mayaca Lock  [Chart] Lock operates from 6AM-9:30PM (Most locking through on south side.).
Hail lock on VHF CH 13

Mile 78: Moore Haven Lock [Chart] Lock operates from 6AM-9:30PM. (Most locking through on west side.)
Hail lock on VHF CH 13.

Mile 94: Ortona Lock [Chart] Lock operates from 6AM-9:30PM (Most locking  through on south side.).
Hail lock on VHF CH 13.

Mile 121. Franklin Lock [Chart] Lock operates from 6AM-9:30PM (Most locking  through on south side.).
Hail lock on VHF CH 13.

A tip from FCD’s Editor/Captains: When locking through, MIND THE CURRENT!

While the current along the entire Okeechobee Waterway is generally mild, it exists nonetheless. And the narrowing confinement of a lock only serves to make it stronger. So even though current isn’t a major factor most of the time, it can be when you approach the wall of a lock and prepare to lock through. And, as is often the case, the current can be more of a problem for boats with less horsepower, such as sailboats or single-screw trawler yachts, than it is for higher powered craft that can overcome the force of current with a burst of force of their own.

Always remember that when you are locking UP the current will be on your bow and of relatively little concern because the “upstream” doors are closed, which minimizes the flow. But when you are locking DOWN the current will be behind you and coming at full force because the “upstream” doors are open. And if you don’t approach the wall at a rather shallow angle, the current can grab your stern and have you turned around before you know it. This is not really  a “biggie” but  rather something you should always keep in mind to avoid unpleasant surprises.

When locking UP, the mild current on your bow allows most any angle of approach to work quite well.

When locking DOWN, however, the current will be stronger and behind you, which can make the angle that worked so well when locking up turn out to be totally wrong!

When locking DOWN, always approach the side wall at a shallow angle to prevent the current from “grabbing” your stern and turning you around.

Locking UP OK
Locking Down NG
Locking Down OK
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