Locking Through the Okeechobee Waterway

The Okeechobee Waterway (OWW), not being a sea level canal, requires the use of locks when crossing Florida from one coast to the other. The locks are required to raise the mariner from sea level to the level of Lake Okeechobee. Once past the lake, they then lower you back down to sea level on the opposite side.

There are (5) locks on the OWW that accomplish this and are of primary interest to the mariner looking to make this inside passage. From east to west they are the St Lucie Lock, the Port Mayaca Lock, the Moore Haven Lock, the Ortona Lock, and the W. P. Franklin Lock.

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There is one additional lock available to the mariner, the Clewiston Lock. This lock is not needed to make the waterway transit; it is only used to visit the town of Clewiston or make use of the holding basin or marina located there.

Okeechobee Waterway Lock Dimensions

The St. Lucie Lock is located at Mile Marker (MM) “15.1.” The lock has a length of 250’ and a width of 50’ with a depth over the sills of 10'. The lift at the St. Lucie Lock is 14.5’ under normal water level conditions and is the highest single lift of the waterway.

The Port Mayaca Lock is located at MM “39.0.” The lock has a length of 400’ and a width of 56’ with a depth over the sills of 16’. The lift at the Port Mayaca Lock is 1.0’ under normal water level conditions.

The Moore Haven Lock is located at MM “78.0.” The lock has a length of 250’ and a width of 50’ with a depth over the sills of 10’. The lift at the Moore Haven Lock is 1.5’ under normal water level conditions.

The Ortona Lock is located at MM “93.5.” The lock has a length of 250’ and a width of 50’ with a depth over the sills of 10’. The lift at the Moore Haven Lock is 8.0’ under normal water level conditions.

The W.P. Franklin Lock is located at MM “39.0.” The lock has a length of 400’ and a width of 56’ with a depth over the sills of 14.0’. The lift at the Port Mayaca Lock is 2.5’ under normal water level conditions.

Okeechobee Waterway Lock Locations

Below are tables showing the listing of the Okeechobee locks with distances, lifts, and estimated transit times between locks for both eastbound and westbound traffic.

Okeechobee Waterway Locks - Westbound

* Estimated Transit Time - Presumes no bridge delays.
** Via Lake Okeechobee Route #1.
Lock Mile
Marker (SM)
   Lift    Next Lock Distance (SM) Est. Transit Time @ 10 Knots VHF
AICW Jct. 0.0 --- St. Lucie 15.1 01:19 ---
St. Lucie 15.1 14.5’Up Arrow Port Mayaca 23.9 02:04 13
Port Mayaca 39.0 1.0’Up Arrow Moore Haven **39.0 03:23 13
Moore Haven 78.0 1.5’Down Arrow Ortona 15.5 01:20 13
Ortona 93.5 8.0’Down Arrow W.P. Franklin 27.9 02:25 13
W.P. Franklin 121.4 2.5’Down Arrow GICW 33.2 02:50 13
GICW Jct. 154.6 --- --- --- --- ---

Okeechobee Waterway Locks - Eastbound

* Estimated Transit Time Includes 00:20 for lockage time and presumes no bridge delays.
** Via Lake Okeechobee Route #1.
Lock Mile
Marker (SM)
   Lift    Next Lock Distance (SM) Est. Transit Time @ 10 Knots VHF
GICW Jct. 154.6 --- W.P. Franklin 33.2 02:50 ---
W.P. Franklin 121.4 2.5’Up Arrow Ortona 27.9 02:25 13
Ortona 93.5 8.0’Up Arrow Moore Haven 15.5 01:20 13
Moore Haven 78.0 1.5’Up Arrow Port Mayaca ** 39.0 03:23 13
Port Mayaca 39.0 1.0’Down Arrow St. Lucie 23.9 02:04 13
St. Lucie 15.1 14.5’Down Arrow AICW 15.1 01:19 13
AICW Jct. 0.0 --- --- --- --- ---

The complete set of tables shown above is also available for download for your personal and private use and contain the tables in both SM, NM and KM both eastbound and westbound.

Okeechobee Waterway Locks Transit Tables – View or Download.

Okeechobee Waterway Lock Operating Hours

Normal lock operating hours are 0700 to 1700 daily (7 days a week, 365 days a year.)

Communicating with the Okeechobee Locks

Communicating with any lockmaster is done on VHF Channel 13. While we have listed the phone numbers in our downloadable tables for each lock, these should be used only as a last resort. Your VHF radio is your primary means of communications.

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