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Pinopolis Lock

Pinopolis Lock

The Pinopolis Lock at Santee Cooper's Jefferies Hydroelectric Station was the highest single-lift lock in the world at the time of its construction.

Motorized boats between 10 and 150 feet can use the lock to be raised or lowered the 75-foot difference between the Tailrace Canal and Lake Moultrie.The lock is open year-round and is operated from 6:30 a.m. (or 30 minutes after dawn, whichever is later) to 5 p.m. for the spring boating season.

Beginning in November, the lock will be operated from 6:30 a.m. (or 30 minutes after dawn, whichever is later) to 5 p.m. (or 30 minutes before dusk, whichever is earlier) for the fall and winter boating seasons. Digital signage at the lock will display the current operating status.

The lock does not operate during thunderstorms or rough-water conditions. Occasionally, it is necessary to take the lock out of service for periodic maintenance or repair. You are encouraged to call in advance. The telephone number is 843-899-LOCK (5625).

How the Lock Works:

Step 1: Push the button, and request a lock operator when someone answers. Please allow 15 minutes for the operator to arrive.

Step 2: Upon entering the lock, loosely pass a rope around one of the floating cleats provided so it can be readily released if the cleat were to jam. Do not tie-off to floating or non-floating cleats.

Step 3: Monitor your line while the water level in the lock rises or falls.

Step 4: Once the water level is equalized, leave the lock slowly (no-wake speed) through the open gates.

Important Notes

To help us operate the Pinopolis Lock more safely and efficiently, please follow these rules:

1. Due to safety considerations, only motor-powered boats are allowed in the lock. Boats or watercraft must be at least 10 ft. in length and no longer than 150 ft. Motorized personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis, must be tied to boats during the lock operation.

2. The lock operator determines the maximum number of boats allowed in the lock at one time, depending on the sizes of the boats. Normally a dozen 16-ft. boats can be accommodated at one time.

3. The areas passed through while approaching the lock are to be used only while entering or exiting the lock. The area of the Tailrace Canal immediately in front of the powerhouse is a state fish sanctuary. State law prohibits fishing in this area.

4. Boaters must obey all signs and lock operator's instructions.

5. The locking procedure takes between 20 and 45 minutes to complete. Keep in mind the hours of operation. Showing up at the last minute may result in having to wait until the following day to pass through the lock.

6. Whenever possible, call 843-899-LOCK (5625) in advance. This will reduce the amount of time you may have to wait for a lock operator.

7. No smoking or consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted in the lock.

8. No swimming or diving is permitted inside the lock or within 600 feet of the powerhouse.

9. All boaters should remain seated and have life jackets or other approved floatation devices immediately available during locking operations.

10. All state laws are enforced by SCDNR.

11. Do not approach the lock, powerhouse, or dam during thunderstorms or rough water conditions.

12. Stay clear of the upstream (Lake Moultrie) end of the lock during locking procedure. Your boat is in danger of being caught under a concrete outcropping.


Manatee Warning

Manatees are an endangered species. They occasionally migrate to the waters of South Carolina between May and September. These gentle creatures are subject to injury from boats and lock operations.  

Boaters should be on the lookout for manatees in the canal and avoid them. Boaters should also advise the lock operator if they see a manatee. The lock operator will implement procedures to discourage the manatee from entering the lock. Boaters may be asked to strike the water with their boat paddle to help discourage entry.