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Bridge and Lock Tender

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What You Need to Know About Bridge and Lock Tender

Example of Bridge & Lock Tender Job 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.

A Day in the Life of a Bridge & Lock Tender

  • 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.
  • Perform maintenance duties such as sweeping, painting, and yard work to keep facilities clean and in order.
  • Add and remove balance weights to bridge mechanisms as necessary.
  • Attach ropes or cable lines to bitts on lock decks or wharfs to secure vessels.
  • Observe position and progress of vessels to ensure best use of lock spaces or bridge opening spaces.

Bridge & Lock Tender Required Skills

When polled, Bridge and Lock Tenders say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

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.

  • Marine Tower Operator
  • Dam Tender Assistant
  • Chief Lock Tender Operator
  • Tender
  • Station Gateman

Job Demand 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. The BLS estimates 400 yearly job openings in this field.


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.

Salary for a Bridge & Lock Tender

Bridge and Lock Tenders make between $24,490 and $63,620 a year.


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

How much do Bridge and Lock Tenders make in each U.S. state?

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 do Bridge and Lock Tenders Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Bridge and Lock Tenders:

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

How do I Become a Bridge & Lock Tender?

What education is needed to be a Bridge and Lock Tender?


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


Where Bridge and Lock Tenders Work


The table below shows the approximate number of Bridge and Lock Tenders employed by various industries.



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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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