Following a review of our lock operation in 2020, we have improved our locking in/out procedures to make staying at the marina even easier for our customers.

Vessels should continue to monitor VHF channel 68, for live updates on progress from the lock operator.

We operate the lock with as little limitations as possible, however when we expect issues in maintaining the level in the dock, we may apply restriction on the number of lock operations to maintain the level.

  • All vessel leaving the Wet dock should give 15 minutes notice to Lock Control. Call sign ‘Ipswich Lock’, on VHF channel 68

  • The lock operator will give his or her best estimation on when the next lock transit will likely be. However, vessels should be prepared to come to the lock earlier if they want to avoid a lengthy delay

  • Vessels should proceed to the waiting area and present themselves for the transit Vessels should at all times keep clear of the berths to allow access and egress of other vessels

  • Vessels may proceed into the lock once the green traffic light is observed.

  • As you enter the lock for outbound transit, assume many others will be following and aim for end of pontoon nearest the outer / river gates, ensuring that Lock Operator does not have to ask you to move forward when other customers call up for the same lock out

  • Barges and commercial vessel will be asked to come in ahead of other traffic, which may be seen as skipping the que. This is for safety reasons. Leisure vessels should give required space and time for these vessels to proceed into the lock

  • There are no limitations on mixing vessels when locking out as the turbulence will occur on the river side and not in the lock itself

  • Outbound there are no restrictions on what vessels can be mixed together

  • All the water turbulence occurs on the river side of the lock gates during the draining down of the lock

  • Even if a vessel came loose from its mooring on the pontoon or lock wall the movement of the water in the lock would not have a profound effect on it

  • Vessels seeking to lock in, continue to call ‘Ipswich Lock’ when passing the Orwell Bridge on VHF channel 68

  • The lock operator will give an estimate on the earliest Lock in time. Vessels should continue to make their way to the waiting pontoon area, keeping clear of vessels exiting the lock

  • As with locking out vessels should at all times continue monitoring VHF CH 68 for updates. Listen out to get a feel for the volume of traffic.

  • If you are the only vessel in the lock, then remain towards the river gates. At all time follow the instruction of the lock operator

  • Barges and commercial vessels will be locked through separately when the level is greater than 1m between the river and the dock

Inbound there are some safety restrictions in place. When the difference in the river level and wet dock level is greater than 1m it is necessary to separate the larger vessels (such as Thames barges) from the smaller ones (yachts and motor cruisers). This is to avoid causing property damage or personnel injury.

  • During free-flow vessels are still required to call ‘Ipswich Lock’ 15 mins before or when passing the Orwell Bridge.

  • Vessels must obey the traffic light system and continue to monitor VHF Channel 68.

  • At the end of free-flow the lock operator must close the gates and start normal lock operations.

  • This is to preserve the dock level and to avoid damage to lock gates and auxiliary systems. The inner gates will be closed first.

  • When transiting the lock close to HW be prepared to abort your approach at short notice or to stop in the lock.

The only demand on priority is Safety of users and safety of vessels and instructions on loading up the lock are based on the following safety factors:

  • Vessels that are large / heavier / less maneuverable are normally invited into the lock first (sometimes this is under a RED light) so if they “hit” another object – lock wall / pontoon etc the damage is restricted to them and ABP infrastructure – if these vessel were to “contact” a smaller yacht / motor cruiser then SERIOUS damage to property & injury to persons are possible

  • Vessels which are smaller / lighter / more maneuverable will then be given the GREEN light to enter the lock – if these vessels contact with those already inside then damage is significantly less.

  • The level difference between the dock and river level

  • Locking in will generally take longer than locking out, due to the turbulence in the lock

  • Filling up the lock with vessels

It takes 1.2 million litres, or 264,000 gallons, of water to change the lock level by 1m. Durin lock-in this flow and water pressure needs to be carefully managed.

The lock is approximately 82m long and 14m wide.

Each sluice is 0.96 square meter. There are 2 sluices on every gate.

The dock level is not allowed to drop below 5.6m, to ensure the structural integrity of the quay walls.

Per lock sequence for one transit the locks consume 98.6kW or 740kW/hr of electricity to run the pumps that drive the hydraulics rams.