Ballard Locks in Seattle

Does anyone know if the Ballard Locks are open to kayaks, and if so, what the protocol is for using them? I’m planning on coming from the Sound side towards Lake Union, and thought I remembered reading somewhere that they were now closed to kayaks. Hoping that is wrong. Many thanks in advance.


Open to kayaks
As far as I know, they are still open to kayaks. They fit them in among the larger vessels. It can be a bit of a wait though, they won’t operate them until they have more than a kayak or two in them. Or if it’s busy you can wait for hours.


– Last Updated: Nov-27-10 3:02 PM EST –

Yes. They will have you pass through the small lock.
I go up to the front of the queue, where you can still observe the stop-go signal light (if you are coming from fresh water - its a red green traffic light). From salt water, go to the front of the wooden wall on the south side of the channel. Once I'm in place, I wave a paddle, or hold it up in the air for awhile to make sure that I am seen. They will loudspeaker you in when ready and give you instructions as you come into the lock. There can be some minor eddies and current - no big deal, but just be aware.

its not that bad
Even on the busiest of weekends, my wait has never beeen more than about 40 minutes. Go to the front of the queue. This labor day weekend, They ran me through the small lock solo while all of the yachts got marshaled into the large locks.

Should someone named "Mr Mannerz"
really be taking cuts/going to the front of the line?! :wink:

(Thanks for the advice!)