top of page

Chicago Lock Safety Guide

In the fall off 2021, the USCG and CHSC formed the Chicago lock task force as a result of upcoming construction projects. It was brought to the attention of the CHSC By Recreational Sector Director Russ Salzman that there was what appeared to be a lack of education on how to safely transit the Chicago Controlling lock. As a result, a task force was formed to propose recommendations to the USACE for the purpose of increasing lock efficiency and educating the public on safe lock transit. The team consisted of Lt. James Fortin USCG, Secretary David Brezina CHSC, Recreational Sector Director Russell Salzman CHSC, Captain Tim Agra First Lady Cruises; Communications Chair Tom Blakely CHSC , Mst3 Eric Krukar USCG, Michael Walsh Chief, Waterways Project Office USACE ; LCDR Matthew Zinn USCG, Warren Marwedel Counsel CHSC and CHSC Vice President Mike McElroy.


With the permission of CHSC leadership, the task force proposed three recommendations to the USACE.


  1. Improve safety awareness of lock procedures through better communications and signage on site

  2. Create a “safe use guide” for the public concerning transiting the lock

  3. Update existing regulations to conform to current practice


The USACE has taken great steps in improving que area education and overall lock safety as a result of this partnership. The most effective byproduct is the “Chicago Harbor Lock Safety Guide” released in the Spring of 2022. This guide provides the optics and relevancy needed to assist the novice and experienced boat operator with the basics on locking through. The brochure clarifies the “Pecking order” of lock priority, the meaning of light signals, the need to keep the entry and exist clear. It also illustrates the important safety procedures designed to protect lock users and save lives.


CHSC is proud to have collaborated with MSU Chicago and USACE Chicago District on such a useful guide.

Chicago Lock Safety Guide

bottom of page