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Staff Gauges

Openchannelflow’s freestanding Staff Gauges provide a quick and inexpensive way to visually check liquid level, the rise / fall of liquid over time, or water flow rate.  

Best practices for water level monitoring stations suggest a staff gauge be installed so that a visual comparative check can be made against the measurement of the data loggers / stage indicators.


  • Creeks, streams, and rivers on watersheds
  • Locks, reservoirs, and lakes
  • Flumes and weirs
  • Holding tanks

Gauge Advantages

custom fiberglass level gauges for measuring lake levels

Available in stainless steel and fiberglass, Openchannelflow staff gauges last considerably longer than other gauge materials.  They do not rust or corrode in even the harshest of marine or treatment plant environments.  

Maintenance is minimal as any algae, organic growth, or marine organisms that build up on the gauge can be easily washed off.

Openchannelflow staff gauges are suitable for directly mounting to a wall or pier, or they can be mounted to a backing board of redwood, cedar, or composite and which is then attached or embedded into the wall.   

Unlike porcelain staff gauges, grommets are not needed when installing stainless steel staff gauge and are not usually necessary on fiberglass ones.  Rubber washers are usually sufficient to ensure that the screw head doesn’t spall the fiberglass.

Gauge Readability

clearview highway font example

Using the same Clearview Highway font used on interstate signs, Openchannelflow freestanding staff gauges are designed to be read easily at a glance and at distance.  

The typically layout of staff gauges is centimeters on one side and 1/10th, 1/100th foot increments on the other.  Custom gradations are also available as are alternate layouts, including USGS A, C, E, I, and M styles as well as flow rates.

Although normally designed for mounting to a vertical surface, Openchannelflow staff gauges can be designed to be mount to sloped or curved surfaces.

Gauge Materials

custom fiberglass staff - level gauges used to measure dam and lake levelsFiberglass

  • In fiberglass, graphics are usually black on a fluorescent yellow background to maximize visibility, although other combinations are available.  
  • Major increment markings can also be presented in a mix of colors for easy visual recognition.
  • Customzation is greatest in fiberglass. Graphics can be of any size, style, or orientation desired.

Stainless Steel

openchannelflow stainless steel staff head level gauge

  • Stainless steel staff gauges are stencil cut through the gauge.  Where more readability is needed, the gauges can sandwich a high visibility background between the gauge and a backer plate. 
  • Stainless steel staff gauges use a font more suitable to the application - Clearview Highway not lending itself to stencil cutting.  
  • Stencil cutting also limits the customziaton that can be done as the cutouts need to be legible at a distance and against the silver of the material small details can be difficult to see.



Image:  Wikipedia