The whole operation will usually take between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on the size of the lock and whether the water in the lock was originally set at the boat's level.
Boaters approaching a lock are usually pleased to meet another boat coming towards them, because this boat will have just exited the lock on their level and therefore set the lock in their favour – saving about 5 to 10 minutes.
This type can be found all over the world, but the terminology here is that used on the British canals. Both locks are amalgamations of two separate locks, which were combined when the canals were restored to accommodate changes in road crossings.
A plan and side view of a generic, empty canal lock.
A lock is a device used for raising and lowering boats, ships and other watercraft between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways.
The distinguishing feature of a lock is a fixed chamber in which the water level can be varied; whereas in a caisson lock, a boat lift, or on a canal inclined plane, it is the chamber itself (usually then called a caisson) that rises and falls.
The gates were 'hanging gates'; when they were closed the water accumulated like a tide until the required level was reached, and then when the time came it was allowed to flow out.
A famous civil engineer of pound locks in Europe was the Italian Bertola da Novate (c.