Below are operating times, and rules for travelling through each of our locks. Generally, you can travel through a lock every day except for Christmas Day.
Occasionally we have to close locks. Any lock closures will be listed on this page.
Please be aware of changes to travel through parts of the River Murray lock system, as part of border controls put into place in an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus in South Australia, at the direction of the State Government and on the advice of SA Health.
All vessels wanting to access Lock Six at Murtho must contact SA Water Lock Six on (08) 8595 8025 to arrange upstream or downstream movement.
South Australia Police (SAPOL) has advised that any vessels downstream of Lock Six will be required to provide them with information and may be subject to a written direction to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. Vessels moving upstream from this location may be subject to any control measures implemented within other states.
To enable efficient ease of river travel, SA Water will not be undertaking any downstream lockages at Lock Nine in Kulnine.
Please also note that public on-land access areas at Locks One to Nine, and at the Goolwa and Tauwitchere Barrages are also closed, along with the Berri slipway and SA Water River Murray Operations office in Berri.
You can still contact our Berri office via phone on (08) 8595 2222.
8am – 11.30 am, Australian Central Standard Time (ACST).
1pm – 4.30 pm, Australian Central Standard Time (ACST).
8am – 11.30am, Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).
1pm – 4.30pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).
8am – 12.30am, Australian Central Standard Time (ACST).
1.30pm – 4.30pm, Australian Central Standard Time (ACST).
*See blue text box at top of page for updated river travel arrangements
To use a lock outside of normal operating times, you have to apply in advance. We need a minimum of seven days' notice. Please note you may also need to pay a fee.
For more information, contact our Berri office on (08) 8595 2222.
To apply, write to our River Murray Operations Unit:
Manager River Murray Operations Unit
SA Water Corporation
PO Box 546
Berri SA 5343
There are some simple rules for travelling through a lock.
Contact the lock operator before you approach. You can use any of these methods:
Wait until you see a red flashing light on top of the control boxes. This means the lock operator has acknowledged your request. The lock operator will prepare the lock for you.
Do not approach until you are told to. Keep more than 150m back from the lock until you see a green flashing light.
The lock operator will tell you where to stop in the lock chamber. They will pass down ropes so you can secure your vessel during the process.
Navigating the lock with a vessel tied to the side of a houseboat is not recommended.
Remember: If we feel conditions are not safe for lockage, we can refuse one. For more information, please contact our Berri office on 8595 2222.
You can call one of the below numbers:
Goolwa - 0408 813 729
Lock 1 - (08) 8540 5001
Lock 2 - (08) 8543 2246
Lock 3 - (08) 8588 7005
Lock 4 - (08) 8582 1388
Lock 5 - (08) 8595 5114
Lock 6 - (08) 8595 8025
Lock 7 - (03) 5027 8225
Lock 8 - (03) 5027 8231
Lock 9 - (03) 5028 2235
Locks work on a chamber system. To travel downstream, water inside the chamber must be at the same level as the top weir. If it isn't, the gates won't open. The top gates are opened by hydraulic-powered arms that allow the boat to enter.
Once the boat is inside the chamber, the gates are closed behind the boat. Water in the lock is released by opening large, hydraulically-operated valves just upstream of the lock gates. Each valve is slightly smaller than an average house door.
Water flows from the lock chamber through tunnels to the weir pool below. As the water level in the chamber drops, the boat is lowered with it, until equal to the level of the lower weir.
Then, the bottom gates are opened and the boat passes through. The water levels in locks are raised and lowered entirely by gravity: no pumps are used.
This process is reversed for boats travelling upstream. It takes only about seven minutes to empty or fill a lock chamber. But, it normally takes 15 to 20 minutes to pass a boat through the lock.
Each lock can take six to eight medium-sized houseboats at once.