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Bridge and Lock Tenders - 53-6011.00

O*NET-SOC 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.

Sample of Reported Job Titles

  • Bridge Operator
  • Bridge Tender
  • Lock Tender

SOC Occupation Groups

Related Occupations


  • Attach ropes or cable lines to bitts on lock decks or wharfs to secure vessels.
  • Check that bridges are clear of vehicles and pedestrians prior to opening.
  • Clean and lubricate equipment, and make minor repairs and adjustments.
  • Control machinery to open and close canal locks and dams, railroad or highway drawbridges, or horizontally or vertically adjustable bridges.
  • Direct movements of vessels in locks or bridge areas, using signals, telecommunication equipment, or loudspeakers.
  • Inspect canal and bridge equipment, and areas, such as roadbeds, for damage or defects, reporting problems to supervisors as necessary.
  • Log data, such as water levels and weather conditions.
  • Maintain and guard stations in bridges to check waterways for boat traffic.
  • Move levers to activate traffic signals, navigation lights, and alarms.
  • Observe approaching vessels to determine size and speed, and listen for whistle signals indicating desire to pass.
  • Observe position and progress of vessels to ensure best use of lock spaces or bridge opening spaces.
  • Perform maintenance duties, such as sweeping, painting, and yard work to keep facilities clean and in order.
  • Prepare accident reports.
  • Raise drawbridges and observe passage of water traffic or lower drawbridges and raise automobile gates.
  • Record names, types, and destinations of vessels passing through bridge openings or locks, and numbers of trains or vehicles crossing bridges.
  • Stop automobile and pedestrian traffic on bridges, and lower automobile gates prior to moving bridges.
  • Turn valves to increase or decrease water levels in locks.
  • Write and submit maintenance work requisitions.

Detailed Work Activities

  • Arrange maintenance activities.
  • Clean facilities or work areas.
  • Clean machinery or equipment.
  • Control equipment that regulates vehicle traffic.
  • Control pumps or pumping equipment.
  • Direct vehicle traffic.
  • Monitor surroundings to detect potential hazards.
  • Monitor traffic signals.
  • Monitor vehicle movement or location.
  • Prepare accident or incident reports.
  • Record operational details of travel.
  • Report vehicle or equipment malfunctions.
  • Secure watercraft to docks, wharves or other vessels.

Military Crosswalk Titles

  • Bridge Crewmember (Army - Enlisted)

Apprenticeship Crosswalk Titles

No information available.

DOT Crosswalk Titles

  • Bridge Operator, Slip
  • Drawbridge Operator
  • Lock Operator
  • Lock Tender, Chief Operator