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Bridge and Lock Tender

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What is a Bridge and Lock Tender?

Bridge & Lock Tender Definition 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.

Daily Life Of a Bridge & Lock Tender

  • Raise drawbridges and observe passage of water traffic or lower drawbridges and raise automobile gates.
  • Move levers to activate traffic signals, navigation lights, and alarms.
  • Attach ropes or cable lines to bitts on lock decks or wharfs to secure vessels.
  • Control machinery to open and close canal locks and dams, railroad or highway drawbridges, or horizontally or vertically adjustable bridges.
  • Log data such as water levels and weather conditions.
  • Check that bridges are clear of vehicles and pedestrians prior to opening.

Bridge & Lock Tender Required Skills

Below is a list of the skills most Bridge and Lock Tenders say are important on the job.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Types of Bridge & Lock Tender Jobs

  • Dam Tender Assistant
  • Bridge Crew Member
  • Bridge Saw Operator
  • Bridge Operator, Slip
  • Draw Operator

Bridge & Lock Tender Job Outlook

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 3,700 jobs in the United States for Bridge and Lock Tender. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 2.7% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 100 new jobs for Bridge and Lock Tender by 2026. There will be an estimated 400 positions for Bridge & Lock Tender per year.


The states with the most job growth for Bridge & Lock Tender are Oregon, Kentucky, and Florida. Watch out if you plan on working in West Virginia, Washington, or Texas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Bridge and Lock Tenders Salary

The salary for Bridge and Lock Tenders ranges between about $24,490 and $63,620 a year.


Bridge and Lock Tenders who work in Minnesota, Illinois, or Iowa, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Bridge and Lock Tenders in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Arkansas $48,410
California $51,520
Florida $34,090
Illinois $62,830
Indiana $54,410
Iowa $55,230
Kentucky $51,470
Louisiana $34,420
Maryland $43,420
Massachusetts $53,430
Michigan $43,560
Minnesota $59,860
Mississippi $43,070
Missouri $55,960
New Jersey $49,880
New York $48,250
Ohio $50,890
Pennsylvania $54,010
South Carolina $46,580
Tennessee $52,410
Texas $35,330
West Virginia $54,680
Wisconsin $49,890

What Tools & Technology do Bridge and Lock Tenders Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Bridge and Lock Tenders may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Oracle PeopleSoft
  • SAP software
  • Virtual private networking VPN software

Becoming a Bridge & Lock Tender

Learn what Bridge and Lock Tender education requirements there are.


What work experience do I need to become a Bridge & Lock Tender?


Who Employs Bridge and Lock Tenders?


Below are examples of industries where Bridge and Lock Tenders work:



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