Fontinettes boat lift

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The Fontinettes Boat Lift

The Fontinettes Boat Lift (French: Ascenseur des Fontinettes) was built in 1888 on the Canal de Neufosse and connected the River Aa and the Neufossé Canal in Arques, near Saint-Omer in the Pas-de-Calais to connect in France.[1]

It was capable of lifting vessels of 300 tonnes displacement.[1] It was designed to avoid the need to use five locks which took some 90 minutes to change height by 13 metres. It was inspired by the similar Anderton Boat Lift built in 1875 in Cheshire, England.

It consists of two caissons each weighing 792 tonnes, including the lifting piston of 90 tonnes.[1] Doors on the caissons and on the canal end are hydraulically powered, and sealing is effected by inflatable seals. In operation, the upper caisson is lowered and 64 tonnes of extra water is added. It is then raised again by hydraulic pressure from an accumulator, and when released, the two caissons exchange position. Six men were required to operate the lift, the balancing operation took only 5 minutes. All power, including to the workshop, came from water turbines. The Boat Lift was built between 1885 and 1888 and worked until 1967. It was then replaced by a big, single lock built further upstream. The lift was rescued from demolition by a local conservation group and guided tours are available during the summer months for a small fee.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses. (1989). Ship lifts: report of a Study Commission within the framework of Permanent ... PIANC. ISBN 978-2-87223-006-8. Retrieved 2011-12-14. 

Coordinates: 50°43′54″N 2°18′12″E / 50.7317°N 2.3033°E / 50.7317; 2.3033