What Do Bridge and Lock Tenders Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life

Job Description

Job Description

Bridge and Lock Tenders 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. They also check that bridges are clear of vehicles and pedestrians prior to opening.

Other tasks include:

  • Move levers to activate traffic signals, navigation lights, and alarms.
  • Turn valves to increase or decrease water levels in locks.
  • Stop automobile and pedestrian traffic on bridges, and lower automobile gates prior to moving bridges.
  • Record names, types, and destinations of vessels passing through bridge openings or locks, and numbers of trains or vehicles crossing bridges.
  • Raise drawbridges and observe passage of water traffic or lower drawbridges and raise automobile gates.
  • Control machinery to open and close canal locks and dams, railroad or highway drawbridges, or horizontally or vertically adjustable bridges.

We asked Bridge and Lock Tenders how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

61%

How meaningful is this job

47%


61% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 47% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Bridge and Lock Tenders operate lighthouses to assist marine passage near shores and dangerous waters. They inspect canal and bridge equipment, and areas such as roadbeds for damage or defects, reporting problems to supervisors as necessary.

A typical day for a Bridge and Lock Tender will also include:

  • Perform maintenance duties such as sweeping, painting, and yard work to keep facilities clean and in order.
  • Log data such as water levels and weather conditions.
  • Observe approaching vessels to determine size and speed, and listen for whistle signals indicating desire to pass.
  • Check that bridges are clear of vehicles and pedestrians prior to opening.
  • Clean and lubricate equipment, and make minor repairs and adjustments.

We asked some Bridge and Lock Tenders a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job? 66% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job? 10% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job? 59% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job? 31% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job? 24% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job? 59% said yes


Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Bridge and Lock Tenders also attach ropes or cable lines to bitts on lock decks or wharfs to secure vessels. They may also clean and lubricate equipment, and make minor repairs and adjustments.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Bridge and Lock Tenders Write and submit maintenance work requisitions. They might also Perform maintenance duties such as sweeping, painting, and yard work to keep facilities clean and in order.

In addition, they Raise drawbridges and observe passage of water traffic or lower drawbridges and raise automobile gates.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Prepare accident reports.

To some Bridge and Lock Tenders, it is also their responsibility to Check that bridges are clear of vehicles and pedestrians prior to opening.


Working life

Working hours

Standard 40 hour work week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Bridge and Lock Tender, you can expect to work 40 hour work week.

Do Bridge and Lock Tenders work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
79%


Never
21%


Do Bridge and Lock Tenders work outdoors?

Every day
62%


Never
21%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Builders and The Organizers

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

You can read more about these career personality types here.



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Related to Bridge and Lock Tenders Job Description

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Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes536011.htm



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