Using the locks

Boats traveling through the Göta Canal

Lockage on the Göta Canal

The lock is undoubtedly one of the biggest. It is a fascinating feeling to be lifted, or lowered by water. When locks are in progress, many spectators often come to watch and it is easy as a boat tourist to get a little nervous. But just take it easy and remember that the lock keepers are used to it and will quickly intervene and help if needed.

It is always the lock master who takes care of the lock machinery. At the manually operated locks in Borensberg and Tåtorp, we need your help. There are signs that can be good to know.

Locking up

Locking up usually takes about 10 minutes per chamber. If the lock is not open when you arrive, wait at a nearby pier. We will generally tell you when you can enter the lock and where you should position your boat.

As lockage generates strong currents and eddies, particularly in the front section of the lock, we prefer to put sailing boats and larger boats here. To make lockage easier for smaller boats, we may have to shuffle the queue in order to get the right combination of boats.


  • Ask the lock keeper for help – we’re happy to explain!
  • Put out plenty of fenders.
  • Have one person go ashore to catch the lines.
  • Switch off the motor during lockage.

Lockage up

  1. Boats with winches should be in front of those being held by hand.
  2. Secure the boat with a short stern line both on land and in the boat.
  3. The stern of the boat should be directly below the ring the stern line is secured to.
  4. The bow line should be one or two rings in front of the bow.
  5. All lines must be taut throughout lockage – haul in the bow line.
  6. Sailing boats can use their winches.
  7. The boat must remain very close to the lock wall.
  8. Never relax your attention – even if it seems quiet at the moment!

Tips when locking up

Make a loop in the end of the stern line, about 50 cm in diameter. Place the loop around the ring on the edge of the lock and fasten to the boat with a short line. Sailboats with a winch can make a loop in the bow line as well, and run the line through a turning block in the bow to the winch.

Lockage down

  1. Stay ahead of the yellow line to ensure that the boat is clear of the lock threshold when the water is released.
  2. Pull the bow and stern lines through suitable rings on the lock edge, but never secure the lines on both the quay and the boat.
  3. Release the lines continuously.
  4. In a double lock or flight of locks one person should remain on land to move the lines. However, before lockage begins in the final lock chamber, everyone should be on board.ö

How to thread the line through the ring for lockage down.

Flip the ring out towards the lock and thread in the line from below.

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