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Bridge and Lock Tender

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Life As a Bridge and Lock Tender

Career 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.

Life As a Bridge & Lock Tender

  • Write and submit maintenance work requisitions.
  • Raise drawbridges and observe passage of water traffic or lower drawbridges and raise automobile gates.
  • Attach ropes or cable lines to bitts on lock decks or wharfs to secure vessels.
  • Observe approaching vessels to determine size and speed, and listen for whistle signals indicating desire to pass.
  • Stop automobile and pedestrian traffic on bridges, and lower automobile gates prior to moving bridges.
  • Observe position and progress of vessels to ensure best use of lock spaces or bridge opening spaces.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Bridge & Lock Tender?

Bridge and Lock Tenders state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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 Operator, Slip
  • Bridge Saw Operator
  • Drawbridge Operator
  • Marine Tower Operator

Are There Job Opportunities for Bridge and Lock Tenders?

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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 400 job openings in this field each 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 typical yearly salary for Bridge and Lock Tenders is somewhere between $24,490 and $63,620.


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

How to Become a Bridge & Lock Tender

Are there Bridge and Lock Tenders education requirements?


How Long Does it Take to Become a Bridge & Lock Tender?


Where Bridge and Lock Tenders Work


Bridge and Lock Tenders work in the following industries:



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