Winter changes to Lower Columbia River recreational lock schedule

Published Oct. 21, 2020

Recreational boaters who need to move through the three lower Columbia River dams’ locks must do so during daylight hours, on request.

This change began September 30 and will continue until May 15, 2021 at Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day. This is an annual and a regularly scheduled part of operations during the winter season.

 During the winter lock schedule, commercial vessels will have lockage priority over recreational vessels. At the discretion of the lock operator, recreational vessels may be allowed to lock through with commercial vessels.

Portland District requests that recreational vessels contact the navigation lock control room at least 30 minutes prior to their arrival at the lock. Vessel owner/operators requesting lockage shall contact the lock operator on duty using Marine Channel 14 or commercial telephone. This will allow the control room to prepare for their transit and will provide vessel operators with general timeframes for their lockage. Control room contact information:

  • Bonneville Lock and Dam (river mile 145): 541-374-8323
  • The Dalles Lock and Dam (river mile 191): 541-506-8211
  • John Day Lock and Dam (river mile 216): 541-298-9712

All vessel owner/operators lock through at their own risk. A personal flotation device is required for every member on board the vessel, throughout the duration of the lockage. Follow the directions of the lock operator when using the locks or operating in the vicinity of the locks. The lock operator has final authority on the suitability of a craft for lockage. Please refer to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Safe Lockage Policy for Recreational Craft on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, published separately, for additional safety requirements.

To maintain safe and reliable passage through this valuable navigation system, the Corps coordinates the annually scheduled lock closures with inland shippers and cruise lines to minimize impacts to lock users. For Portland District navigation lock information, visit navigation or public notices.

Portland District operates and maintains Bonneville Lock & Dam, The Dalles Lock & Dam and John Day Lock & Dam on the Columbia River. Learn more about Portland District’s lock and dams, here.

The Columbia-Snake inland navigation system provides important benefits to business and the public. Approximately 9 million tons of cargo valued at over $3 billion is barged on the Columbia-Snake river system annually. The navigation system contributes jobs, facilitates import and export trade, and benefits the economy, environment and quality of life in the Pacific Northwest.

Stay current with the Portland District by visiting our website at: or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, @PortlandCorps.


Tom Conning

Release no. 20-143