Large lock malfunction traps boaters for three hours

A number of boats were trapped yesterday when an electrical malfunction kept the large chamber of the Ballard Locks closed for a few hours.

Bill Dowell from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tells My Ballard that part of the electrical system failed at about 12:30pm, trapping 15 vessels for three hours in the large lock.

Coincidentally, the incident fell on the Lock’s 102nd birthday — it opened on July 4, 1917.

“Ya know, the locks are 102 years old,” Dowell told My Northwest. “This is the kind of thing that happens with something that is 102 years old.”

Dowell said new parts are needed for the part that failed, but added that it may be a challenge to find them. “These are not things we keep on the shelf. They just don’t have them anymore.”

While the Army Corps waits for the new part to fix the chamber, the large lock will remain open. But with just four of the six valves working, it could take a few hours to get through the chamber.

There are plans in the works to replace all the valves at the locks — extended closures will start in October.

Photo: Hiram M. Chittenden Locks on Facebook


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Paintking
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Paintking

Nice to see the cities priorities are solid and are directing tax revenue in the proper direction. And boaters MUST pony up $$ AND display that sticker showing they went to a safety class as well. As in pay for play. Something the precious cyclists aren’t mandated to do, yet.

ltfd
Member
ltfd

“Nice to see the cities priorities …” It’s not the city’s priorities; the Ballard Locks are a federal facility, managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Reading is fundamental.

terryj
Member
terryj

I believe he is talking about the cities requirements for Boater, safety and how bicyclist must do none of that. He maybe, as I am ,pissed off the city is spending millions, cutting down trees and eliminating 200 parking spots to do it, by extending the BG Trail for a few bicyclist.
None of which have anything to do with this article. But I will agree with you reading is fundamental. So is a general knowledge of the city you live in.

adron
Member
adron

200?!

You mean those places on top of tracks, protected by federal law, where people aren’t technically supposed to be parking anyway but get to because of basically a back room hand shake?

…that illegal parking isn’t actually going anywhere. It’ll STILL be there after the extension.

Also what trees are getting cut down? There already on record and have the resources bought and purchased to plant double the trees that have been removed.

So it’ll be alright @terryj you’ll still be able to park on the train tracks when the Ballard Railway isn’t operating (otherwise they will tow your car!) and you’ll still have even MORE trees after they’re done doing the work!

Freja
Member
Freja

Calm down dude.

adron
Member
adron

Some real misdirected hatred of people doing something completely unrelated to this article.

Did you even read it or just here being mad at people that ride bicycles? Also, your argument is spuriously wrong, but I’ll stick to the article topic. Bummer than those boaters got stuck, glad things got worked out.

JustinR
Member
JustinR

Commercial mariners are charged a commercial vessel tax, while recreational mariners pay excise tax; both are based on the fair market value of the vessel. In addition, they pay an annual license fee to the state, just like car tabs. Not that it matters: the locks are a federal responsibility, like an interstate highway, rather than a state or city responsibility.

A safety certificate is required to operate a boat in Washington state, though a sticker isn’t needed on the vessel, just like it isn’t for your car. That would be kind of silly, wouldn’t it?

I hope that clears up some of your confusion :)

Freja
Member
Freja

I was once stuck in the locks for a couple hours during a malfunction. It was one of the most delightful experiences ever and year later I’m still friends with some of the people I met from other boats. I hope the people who were stuck there had as nice a time getting to know each other as we did.

adron
Member
adron

Sounds fun! :)

Beaver
Member
Beaver

I’d just keep the mimosas flowing. Great opportunity to get drunkity drunk drunk. Cheers!