U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jul 15, 2024

§ 207.160 - All waterways tributary to the Atlantic Ocean south of Chesapeake Bay and all waterways tributary to the Gulf of Mexico east and south of St. Marks, Fla.; use, administration, and navigation.

(a) Description. This section applies to the following:

(1) Waterways. All navigable waters of the United States, natural or artificial, including bays, lakes, sounds, rivers, creeks, intracoastal waterways, as well as canals and channels of all types, which are tributary to or connected by other waterways with the Atlantic Ocean south of Chesapeake Bay or with the Gulf of Mexico east and south of St. Marks, Florida.

(2) Locks. All Government owned or operated locks and hurricane gate chambers and appurtenant structures in any of the waterways described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(3) U.S. property. All river and harbor lands owned by the United States in or along the waterways described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, including lock sites and all structures thereon, other sites for Government structures and for the accommodation and use of employees of the United States, and rights of way and spoil disposal areas to the extent of Federal interest therein.

(4) Vessels and rafts. The term “vessel” as used in this section includes all floating things moved over these waterways other than rafts.

(b) Authority of District Engineers. The use, administration, and navigation of these waterways, Federal locks and hurricane gate chambers shall be under the direction of the officers of the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, detailed in charge of the respective sections, and their authorized assistants. The cities in which the U.S. District Engineers are located are as follows:

U.S. District Engineer, Norfolk, Virginia.

U.S. District Engineer, Wilmington, North Carolina.

U.S. District Engineer, Charleston, South Carolina.

U.S. District Engineer, Savannah, Georgia.

U.S. District Engineer, Jacksonville, Florida.

(c) [Reserved]

(d) Bridges. (For regulations governing the operation of bridges, see §§ 117.1, 117.240 and 117.245 of this title.)

(e) Locks—(1) Authority of lockmasters—(i) Locks staffed with Government personnel. The provisions of this subparagraph apply to all waterways in this Section except for the segment of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway identified in (e)(1)(ii). The lockmaster shall be charged with the immediate control and management of the lock, and of the area set aside as the lock area, including the lock approach channels. He/she shall see that all laws, rules and regulations for the use of the lock and lock area are duly complied with, to which end he/she is authorized to give all necessary orders and directions in accordance therewith, both to employees of the Government and to any and every person within the limits of the lock and lock area, whether navigating the lock or not. No one shall cause any movement of any vessel, boat, or other floating thing in the lock or approaches except by or under the direction of the lockmaster or his/her assistants.

(ii) Locks staffed with contract personnel. The provisions of this subparagraph apply to the segment of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway comprising the Albermarle and Chesapeake Canal and the Dismal Swamp Canal including Great Bridge Lock, Chesapeake, Virginia; Deep Creek Lock, Chesapeake, Virginia; and South Mills Lock, North Carolina. Contract personnel shall give all necessary orders and directions for operation of the locks. No one shall cause any movement of any vessel, boat or other floating thing in the locks or approaches except by or under the direction of the contract lock operator. All duties and responsibilities of the lockmaster set forth in this section shall be performed by the contract lock operator except that the responsibility for enforcing all laws, rules and regulations shall be vested in a government employee designated by the Norfolk District Engineer. The District Engineer will notify waterway users and the general public through appropriate notices and media concerning the location and identity of the designated government employee.

(2) Signals. Vessels desiring lockage in either direction shall give notice to the lockmaster at not more than three-quarters of a mile nor less than one-quarter of a mile from the lock, by two long and two short blasts of a whistle. When the lock is available, a green light, semaphore or flag will be displayed; when not available, a red light, semaphore or flag will be displayed. No vessels or rafts shall approach within 300 feet of any lock entrance unless signalled to do so by the lockmaster.

(3) Precedence at locks. (i) The vessel arriving first at a lock shall be first to lock through; but precedence shall be given to vessels belonging to the United States and to commercial vessels in the order named. Arrival posts or markers may be established ashore above or below the locks. Vessels arriving at or opposite such posts or markers will be considered as having arrived at the locks within the meaning of this paragraph.

(ii) The lockage of pleasure boats, house boats or like craft shall be expedited by locking them through with commercial craft (other than barges carrying petroleum products or highly hazardous materials) in order to utilize the capacity of the lock to its maximum. If, after the arrival of such craft, no separate or combined lockage can be accomplished within a reasonable time not to exceed the time required for three other lockages, then separate lockage shall be made.

(4) Entrance to and exit from locks. No vessel or raft shall enter or leave the locks before being signalled to do so. While waiting their turns, vessels or rafts must not obstruct traffic and must remain at a safe distance from the lock. They shall take position in rear of any vessels or rafts that may precede them, and there arrange the tow for locking in sections if necessary. Masters and pilots of vessels or in charge of rafts shall cause no undue delay in entering or leaving the lock, and will be held to a strict accountability that the approaches are not at any time unnecessarily obstructed by parts of a tow awaiting lockage or already passed through. They shall provide sufficient men to move through the lock promptly without damage to the structures. Vessels or tows that fail to enter the locks with reasonable promptness after being signalled to do so will lose their turn.

(5) Lockage of vessels. (i) Vessels must enter and leave the locks carefully at slow speed, must be provided with suitable lines and fenders, must always use fenders to protect the walls and gates, and when locking at night must be provided with suitable lights and use them as directed.

(ii) Vessels which do not draw at least six inches less than the depth on miter sills or breast walls, or which have projections or sharp corners liable to damage gates or walls, shall not enter a lock or approaches.

(iii) No vessel having chains or lines either hanging over the sides or ends, or dragging on the bottom, for steering or other purposes, will be permitted to pass a lock or dam.

(iv) Power vessels must accompany tows through the locks when so directed by the lockmaster.

(v) No vessel whose cargo projects beyond its sides will be admitted to lockage.

(vi) Vessels in a sinking condition shall not enter a lock or approaches.

(vii) The passing of coal from flats or barges to steamers while in locks is prohibited.

(viii) Where special regulations for safeguarding human life and property are desirable for special situations, the same may be indicated by printed signs, and in such cases such signs will have the same force as other regulations in this section.

(ix) The lockmaster may refuse to lock vessels which, in his judgment, fail to comply with this paragraph.

(6) Lockage of rafts. Rafts shall be locked through in sections as directed by the lockmaster. No raft will be locked that is not constructed in accordance with the requirements stated in paragraph (g) of this section. The party in charge of a raft desiring lockage shall register with the lockmaster immediately upon arriving at the lock and receive instructions for locking.

(7) Number of lockages. Tows or rafts locking in sections will generally be allowed only two consecutive lockages if one or more single vessels are waiting for lockage, but may be allowed more in special cases. If tows or rafts are waiting above and below a lock for lockage, sections will be locked both ways alternately whenever practicable. When there are two or more tows or rafts awaiting lockage in the same direction, no part of one shall pass the lock until the whole of the one preceding it shall have passed.

(8) Mooring. (i) Vessels and rafts when in the lock shall be moored where directed by the lockmaster by bow, stern and spring lines to the snubbing posts or hooks provided for that purpose, and lines shall not be let go until signal is given for vessel or raft to leave. Tying boats to the lock ladders is prohibited.

(ii) The mooring of vessels or rafts near the approaches to locks except while waiting for lockage, or at other places in the pools where such mooring interferes with general navigation of the waterway is prohibited.

(9) Maneuvering locks. The lock gates, valves, and accessories will be moved only under the direction of the lockmaster; but if required, all vessels and rafts using the locks must furnish ample help on the lock walls for handling lines and maneuvering the various parts of the lock under the direction of the lockmaster.

(f) [Reserved]

(g) Rafts, logging. (1) Rafts will be permitted to navigate a waterway only if properly and securely assembled. The passage of “bag” or “sack” rafts, “dog” rafts, or of loose logs over any portion of a waterway, is prohibited. Each section of a raft will be secured within itself in such a manner as to prevent the sinking of any log, and so fastened or tied with chains or wire rope that it cannot be separated or bag out so as to materially change its shape. All dogs, chains and other means used in assembling rafts shall be in good condition and of ample size and strength to accomplish their purposes.

(2) No section of a raft will be permitted to be towed over any portion of a waterway unless the logs float sufficiently high in the water to make it evident that the section will not sink en route.

(3) Frequent inspections will be made by the person in charge of each raft to insure that all fastenings remain secure, and when any one is found to have loosened, it shall be repaired at once. Should any log or section be lost from a raft, the fact must be promptly reported to the District Engineer, giving as definitely as possible the exact point at which the loss occurred. In all cases the owner of the lost log or section will take steps immediately to remove the same from the waterway.

(4) The length and width of rafts shall not exceed such maximum dimensions as may be prescribed by the District Engineer.

(5) All rafts shall carry sufficient men to enable them to be managed properly, and to keep them from being an obstruction to other craft using the waterway. To permit safe passage in a narrow channel rafts will, if necessary, stop and tie up alongside the bank. Care must be exercised both in towing and mooring rafts to avoid the possibility of damage to aids to navigation maintained by the United States or under its authorization.

(6) When rafts are left for any reason with no one in attendance, they must be securely tied at each end and at as many intermediate points as may be necessary to keep the timbers from bagging into the stream, and must be moored so as to conform to the shape of the bank. Rafts moored to the bank shall have lights at 500-foot intervals along their entire length. Rafts must not be moored at prominent projections of the bank, or at critical sections.

(7) Logs may be stored in certain tributary streams provided a clear channel at least one-half the width of the channel be left clear for navigation along the tributary. Such storage spaces must be protected by booms and, if necessary to maintain an open channel, piling should also be used. Authority for placing these booms and piling must be obtained by written permit from the District Engineer.

(8) The building, assembling, or breaking up of a raft in a waterway will be permitted only upon special authority obtained from the District Engineer, and under such conditions as he may prescribe.

(h) Dumping of refuse or oil in waterway, obstructions. Attention is invited to the provisions of sections 13 and 20 of the River and Harbor Act of March 3, 1899 (30 Stat. 1152, 1154; 33 U. S. C. 407, 415), and of sections 2, 3, and 4 of the Oil Pollution Act of June 7, 1924 (43 Stat. 604, 605; 33 U.S.C. 432-434), which prohibit the depositing of any refuse matter in these waterways or along their banks where liable to be washed into the waters; authorize the immediate removal or destruction of any sunken vessel, craft, raft, or other similar obstruction, which stops or endangers navigation; and prohibit the discharge of oil from vessels into the coastal navigable waters of the United States.

(i) Damage. Masters and owners of vessels using the waterways are responsible for any damage caused by their operations to canal revetments, lock piers and walls, bridges, hurricane gate chambers, spillways, or approaches thereto, or other Government structures, and for displacing or damaging of buoys, stakes, spars, range lights or other aids to navigation. Should any part of a revetment, lock, bridge, hurricane gate chamber, spillway or approach thereto, be damaged, they shall report the fact, and furnish a clear statement of how the damage occurred, to the nearest Government lockmaster or bridge tender, and by mail to the District Engineer, U.S. Engineer Office, in local charge of the waterway in which the damage occurred. Should any aid to navigation be damaged, they shall report that fact immediately to the Superintendent of Lighthouses at Norfolk, Virginia, if north of New River Inlet, North Carolina; to the Superintendent of Lighthouses at Charleston, South Carolina, if between New River Inlet, North Carolina, and St. Lucie Inlet, Florida; to the Superintendent of Lighthouses at Key West, Florida, if between St. Lucie Inlet and Suwanee River, Florida; and to the Superintendent of Lighthouses, New Orleans, Louisiana, if between Suwanee River and St. Marks, Florida.

(j) Trespass on property of the United States. Trespass on waterway property or injury to the banks, locks, bridges, piers, fences, trees, houses, shops or any other property of the United States pertaining to the waterway is strictly prohibited. No business, trading or landing of freight or baggage will be allowed on or over Government piers, bridges, or lock walls.

(k) Copies of regulations. Copies of the regulations in this section will be furnished free of charge upon application to the nearest District Engineer.

[Regs., Apr. 30, 1938, as amended at 8 FR 15381, Nov. 9, 1943; 25 FR 8908, Sept. 16, 1960; 26 FR 353, Jan. 18, 1961; 34 FR 4967, Mar. 7, 1969; 42 FR 57961, Nov. 7, 1977; 48 FR 6335, Feb. 11, 1983; 56 FR 13765, Apr. 4, 1991]