Two famous lock systems are the Panama Canal and Erie Canal. Both were designed to help the mariner get the vessel across a geographic region.
Transiting the Panama Canal saved ships days if not weeks from traveling around the tip of South America and closer to home the Erie Canal helped mariners lift up and across the Allegheny Mountain range to go to and from the Great Lakes and the Hudson River and Atlantic Ocean.
We have the Okeechobee Waterway in South Florida to save days cruising around the FL Keys when you need to go from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico.
We can teach you how to contact the lock, enter and secure the boat while the doors close, flood or lower the chamber, open the other doors and cruise out. We also have a DVD now available describing all the steps involved in Locking.
If you are interested in the Great Loop this will be great experience for you because loopers transit the Erie Canal and lock system.
America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association