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Background Information on Navigation Locks

Well over half of Florida's nearly 16 million residents live within the geographical area of the Okeechobee Waterway and Central and Southern Florida Projects and nearly one-third of the state's population live in three counties located nearby. With an annual visitation estimated at over 6.6 million and a net economic development value of over $55 million annually, the Okeechobee Waterway is clearly a valuable resource to the south Florida area and the Nation as a whole. The Okeechobee Waterway is primarily used for recreation, but it is also used for commercial navigation, including tug/barge combinations and commercial fishing vessels.

The navigation lock program includes the annual operations and maintenance, major maintenance, and periodic inspections of five locks and dams along the St. Lucie Canal and Caloosahatchee River. The Okeechobee Waterway is a vital slack-water link in Florida commercial water transportation network. It saves about 206 miles of travel time over the open water route around Florida's peninsula. The waterway navigation routes are charted in NOAA Navigation Chart #11428 (online chart does NOT fulfill carriage requirements for regulated vessals under Title 33 and 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations).

The goal of the navigation program is to provide a safe, reliable, and efficient waterborne transportation system (channels, harbors, and waterways) for the movement of commerce, National security needs, and recreation, and to provide a safe harbor from severe storms. For more information on navigation programs, visit the Navigation Branch under our Programs & Project Management Division.

Public Comment

Notice to Navigation Interests: NTN 2018-02 Okeechobee Waterway - Ortona Lock Closure June 2018; Public Comment through March 31


Notice is given that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is notifying the public, marinas, commercial and recreational vessels traveling the Okeechobee Waterway that Ortona Lock will be closed for maintenance 4 through 16 June 2018. This will be the first lock closure along the Okeechobee Waterway in 6 years; maintenance is necessary to repair aging and damaged infrastructure in addition to improving public and vessel safety. Repairs will require the lock chamber to be dewatered for crews to perform inspections, replace gate seals and repair Manatee Protection system components. During the closure, barges, floating cranes and divers will be working in the lock entrance, requiring vessel operators in the area to use minimal speed and caution for safety

Public comments and concerns related to this closure will be accepted until 31 March 2018 and can be mailed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 525 Ridgelawn Rd., Clewiston, FL 33440 Attn: Gary Hipkins or can be emailed to Gary.L.Hipkins@usace.army.mil.

Latest Navigation Info

For the latest Navigation News, check our Notices to Navigation.

Contact Lock Operator for Current Info

W.P. Franklin Lock          239-694-5451

Ortona Lock                     863-675-0616

Moore Haven Lock          863-946-0414

Port Mayaca Lock           561-924-2858

St. Lucie Lock                  772-287-2665

Canaveral Lock               321-783-5421

Contact Information