How the Water Locks of Panama Canal Work

Canal lock and lock-keeper’s cottage

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How the Water Locks of Panama Canal Work
How the Water Locks of Panama Canal Work

A lock and dam system enables a large ship to move from a body of water at one level to another body of water at another level.

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.