Pinopolis Lock

The PhotoHunt theme this week is LOCK
Pictured below is the Pinopolis Lock at the end of the Santee-Cooper lakes in South Carolina.
Photo, navigation chart & italicized information by Santee Cooper.

I've been inside this lock on more than one occasion and, believe me, it is a scary thing.
Actually, it isn't scary in and of itself; it's the idea of what might go wrong and what might happen if something goes wrong that is petrifying.
I was in it on a boat. Being lowered or raised 75 feet inside that lock is an amazing feat.


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. In it, boats up to 150 feet can be raised or lowered the 75 feet difference between the Tailrace Canal and Lake Moultrie. The lock is open from 1/2 hour after dawn until 1/2 hour before dusk year-round. No lock operations are performed during thunderstorms or when rough water exists.

How the Lock Works:
Step 1: Push the button and when someone answers request a lock operator. 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 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.

This 162-mile system provides a clearly defined waterway through which boats can safely navigate the lakes. The Pinopolis Lock is a popular path for boaters, providing a route between Lake Moultrie and the Cooper River via the Tailrace Canal. The lock, which was the highest single-lift lock in the world when it was built in 1942, raises or lowers boats the 75-foot difference between the Tailrace Canal and Lake Moultrie. Boats enter through one set of gates, float in the lock about 30 minutes while the water is adjusted and exit the other set of gates. The Pinopolis Lock is typically open year-round during daylight hours.

The Santee Cooper lake system consists of two lakes joined by the 6.5 mile Diversion Canal: Lake Marion covering 110,600 acres, and Lake Moultrie, covering 60,400 acres. These world-class fishing lakes were created for a hydroelectric project by the S.C. Public Service Authority, commonly known as Santee Cooper because of the two river systems the project connected.

My dad and both of my brothers (Rod and Shawn) have water-skiied that entire navigation system shown above.
Dad made that ski trip several times before the Rediversion Canal was built; each trip was approximately 180 miles! He was subsequently referred to in the newspaper as "Ski King."
The Santee Cooper Lakes vary from shallow swamps and blackwater ponds to vast open water with a multitude of underwater structures.
Lake Marion was not completely cleared. As a result, there are thousands upon thousands of stumps, standing dead tree trunks and live cypress trees providing fish habitat, but also potential prop hazards.
Lake Moultrie is more open and is 14 miles across at its widest point.
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To see other LOCK pictures from PhotoHunt participants, click here.


srp said...

Now this is a big difference in height! Indeed it might be quite scary to go through! Mine is up here.

VioletSky said...

I'm sure the trip is worth the fear.

Carver said...

That's an enormous lock. Great take on the theme and a very informative post.

Anonymous said...

How fun, yours is the second one with waterway locks, great educational post too!

jams o donnell said...

Wow now that IS impressive Sheery. Great shot!

Anonymous said...

Aloha Sherry,
WOW what a very informational lock post. Thank you for sharing!
Happy PH,
Cindy O
Stop by & visit:)

IE Mommy said...

Wow...thanks for the information! Made the picture even more interesting. Thanks for visiting the IE Mommy and checking out my Lock PHoto Hunt

Tara R. said...

Very cool story and great photo. You always include the best information with your photos!

RJ Flamingo said...

Great post, Sherry! I was hoping to see more locks like these, today...

Thanks for visiting!

YTSL said...

What an amazing lock - visually, it's already impressive but it really enhances things to read what you wrote about it. Great entry! :)

Mariposa said...

I'd be too scared to be in there! LOL

Mariposa's PhotoHunt

Colin Campbell said...

Very impressive. The best water structure I have seen was the Hoover Dam. Standing at the top is very impressive.

gigi said...

That is a big WOW! Way cool!

Anonymous said...

75 feet - a very big lift and sitting waiting at the bottom of pool that deep definitely strange.
A great post.

Gattina said...

How interesting ! we have several here in Belgium too but I didn't know that it's called "lock" lol !

Isolated Existence. said...

Nice entry, I would be scared too! Thanks for stopping by my corner ;-)

Enjoy your weekend!

magiceye said...

amazing! a thrill by itself!

Have started a new meme Pet Pride where you can display your or your friends' pets every week beginning every Sunday! Do join in and share your pet pride with the world!

Anneke (Mudhooks) said...

That is a rather big difference in height for a single lock!

Ours tend to be several locks to handle a large drop. Of course, the one in mine was built in the early 1800s, so they HAD to build several locks.

The Peterborough Lift Lock (on the Severn system) is 65 feet, the World's highest lift lock. It is an amazing marvel. http://www.galenfrysinger.com/peterborough_liftlock_ontario.htm

I have seen it but not been through it.

Arlene said...

that is an impressive experience. if i to think of the situation and how the lock looks like during when something goes wrong, yeah i can feel it petrefying.

nice entry for the theme and thank you for dropping by at my lock entry. :)

happy Sunday!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if my screaming would reverberate within those claustrophobic walls.

EG CameraGirl said...

I'm thinking I might be a bit frightened too! That's a long way up...or down.

Sandee said...

How cool. Something to be very proud of. The ski king part that is.

Have a terrific day. :)

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