Great Loop Restrictions

 Great Loop Restrictions along the route impacting vessels from bridge heights; depths; canal widths; fuel; weight; crew needed and fees.

 Some have asked, "How long does it take to cross the Erie Canal?"

 Well the canal is some 350 miles long, from Buffalo to Albany. There are posted speed limits and obvious No Wake restrictions along it.

 Here I will give you a rough estimate of the issues.


 So having something around 120 miles that are marked at 5mph to 10mph.

 Then around 70 miles marked with a speed limit at 30mph.

 Also 35 miles at a speed limit of 45mph.

 And the unlimited speed zone on lake Oneida of 20 miles.

 You also add in 35 locks and their time issue.

 Don't forget 13 lift bridges, they take a few minutes too. 

 Oh and the locks and bridges are manned, so not something that you can just go thru. They have operating hours. I have yet to see a boat pass by after dusk.


 What would you think, 50+ hours of runtime? You are not going to do end to end Albany to Buffalo in a couple days. 


 So redlining your motors at the max speed limit, does create wake on most boats. That stresses the embankment here. If you think you are going to do this trip that fast, go a different route. We don't want you here.


 Don't be an A-hole and speed in the canal.



*Height Restrictions -


Illinois River, Chicago -

 Bridge clearance 19'6'' to clear a fixed bridge on the Illinois river south of Chicago. Railroad bridge at mile 300.6 has a height of 19.7 feet based on a pool level of 576.2 at Lockport lock. 

 There is no alternative route.


Chicago Downtown - 

 Under 17.6ft to clear a fixed bridge at mile 320.4 on the Chicago river going downtown. There is an alternate route by taking the Calumet river. 


*NYS Erie Canal Bridge Height restriction table -

Listings for each structure over the Erie Canal.





*Navigational Chart for western Erie Canal -

Here is a link for width; depth and height restrictions on the western Erie Canal section 



Erie Canal western section - 

 Height restriction of 15.5ft.

 As being a local here all my life, we were always told that the railroad bridge was the lowest here. The 4th bridge in from the Niagara River in Tonawanda NY. This is a fixed (former moveable) railroad bridge. 

 If you go by the NYS Canal website (link above), they say the Delaware Street bridge to the west is the lowest at 14.7 when at max water elevation. Also the double highway bridges to the east are at 15.22ft at their max water elevation. 

 Being a NYS agency, we put little faith in their measurements. The State DOT highway was known for marking their bridges a foot less, for impacting issues. 

 So use your best judgement. 

 The alternate route is at 'Three Rivers' in Phoenix NY. Here to venture westward, you head north on the Oswego River into the city of Oswego NY and into Lake Ontario. From there your options are the Welland Canal or the Trent-Severn System, both are in Canada and you need to comply with customs. 





Lift Lock Bridges, sixteen of them in the western Erie Canal -

 The Average bridge height when up is 16.6ft

 Lowered with the exception of the Fairport Main St bridge at 7ft when in the down position. The rest of the lift bridges are 3ft when down.


*best to go under when in the up position.



Hudson River, NY -

  Bridge C-1, 112th St. at normal 25.43ft / at max  20.56ft


Champlain Canal, NY -

 Bridge C-19, New Swamp Rd. 17.03ft

*Maintained at 73.50ft but can be lowered to 67.50 per request 



Eastern Erie Canal, NY -

 from the Hudson river to Three rivers.

Lock 19

Railroad bridge E-40, normal is 21.37ft / at max 19.37ft


Oswego Canal, NY -

 The norther route of the Erie Canal. From the Hudson river to Three rivers, to the Oswego river and out to Lake Ontario.

 For both former railroad bridge now pedestrian bridge.

also the utilities in the Lock 08

normal elevation 21.15ft / max elevation 20.28ft


Onondaga Lake, NY off the Erie Canal -

 Railroad bridge E-75, normal 15.5ft / max 12.2ft


Cayuga - Seneca Canal, NY off the Erie Canal -

 Bridge S-3, RT89 normal 16ft / max 15.5ft


Genesee River, NY -

 Coming from the Erie Canal, headed north to Rochester.

Bridge at Ford St, normal 16.02ft / max 15.32ft

You can't go any farther north past the Rt 490 bridges, there is a cable across the water to prevent passage. Good thing as the 96ft High Falls waterfall is just down stream. 


Ellicott Creek, first off of Erie Canal in Tonawanda, NY  -

 The first bridge is a pedestrian at 18.05ft / max 13.55ft

The next is the Delaware St bridge at 11ft.

Just past this is the Inner Harbour Yatch Club at mile 338.40 


(716) 692-9920




Canada Height Restrictions -

Trent-Severn System - 20ft

Rideau Canal - 22ft



*Demasting Services -


Listings for New York area -




Western Erie Canal -


Wardell Boat Yard 



at mile 338.58


Smith Boys 



at mile 338.78



Hudson River - 


Castleton Boat Club 

 *Has a Do-it-Yourself Gin Pole.




Riverview Marina Service

103 Main St. Catskill, NY




Scanaro Boat Building -





Lake Champlain -


Westport Marina





Lake Ontario - 


Oswego Marina




Katlynn Marine

7448 Route 14 Sodus Point, NY





Lake Erie - 


Sugar Loaf Marina

Port Colborne Canada





Chicago - ???


Mobile - ???





*Width Restriction - 


Erie Canal - 43.5ft


Trent-Severn System - Lock #45 is 23ft


Rideau Canal - 28ft



*Draft Restrictions -



Erie Canal - call if your draft is over 5ft. 

The western section is pretty clear, except where the Genesee River crosses over it south of Rochester NY. Also where the Tonawanda Creek flows into the canal. 



Canada -

 The draft, fully loaded no deeper than 5ft in order to navigate the Canadian Heritage Canals. 

 The beam, not really a restriction but 23ft if you want to travel the Trent-Severn System or thr Canadian Heritage Canals. Finding a dockage can be more of the issue here being wider than 15ft. 


Canada Canals and Waterway Bridge Height restrictions table - 




*Fuel Restrictions -

 The minimum would be a span of 250 miles because of fuel stops on the Tombigbee. 

 Also a 376 miles on the lower Mississippi for diesel. 



*Weight - 

 If you are planning a trip using the St Lawrence Seaway, you need a boat that is longer than 20ft and weighing more than a ton, to safely be in these water because of the swift currents. 



*Crew -

 Welland Canal a third crew member is required for passage from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie called ''upbound''. This is because of the violent turbulent waters filling the chambers. Hold on tight.

 The Welland Canal only requires two crew to go from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario downbound. The waters emptying the chambers are not so bad. 

 Passage for the Welland Canal is $25 per lock / $200 for all eight. This must be prepaid using the Secunik app.

*if you need crew, please contact me for help.


*Fees -




 The Erie Canal in New York, use to charge a fee for traveling the canal. For the past few years it has been free. It might change. 


 The St Lawrence River - American Locks Montreal / Ontario section - $30 per lock. They want exact cash only, USA or Canadian funds. 



Canada -


Canada fees - https://www.commandesparcs-parksorders.ca/en/bateaux-canaux-boating-canals 


 The Trent-Severn and Rideau Canals, have mostly similar fees. Changes are coming in 2023. *Tenders need a permit. 

 Both canals provide a one-way travel through the entire system. You can start at any location along the system, but must travel in one direction. 12ft to 84ft - $4.75ft. 

Seasonal lockage permit, unlimited for seven historical locks - $8.99ft

Seasonal lockage and mooring packages - $19.01ft


Single lock and return - $$0.92 ft

One day - $1.64 ft

Transit oneway - $4.75 ft

Six days - $5.16 ft

Seasonal - $8.99 ft


Mooring >

Overnight - $0.92 ft

Seasonal, overnight - $10.02 ft

Electric hookup per vessel per night - $9.80 ft

Lie up a vessel in a canal, per day for each metre of length - $10.50 / Rideau $10.73

Camping - $102.20 and without showers, per person - $5.01


*Discharge of fireworks in a canal - Trent $53.66 / Rideau $52.50



 The Welland Canal in Canada - charges $25 per lock / $200 for all eight in Canadian funds. You need to prepay on the Secunik app before you arrive at the dock. Have your reciept in hand. 

 I believe they can get you a crew member for transit. If you need crew, send me a pm and I might be able to help you. 



 Great Lakes St Lawrence Seaway System Tolls - 



 Also more info in our 'Canada' section. 



*Lock Sizes -


Erie Canal - 362.9 miles - 57 locks, 300ft x 43.5ft


Welland Canal - 27 miles - 8 locks, 740ft x 78ft


St Lawrence - 370 miles - 15 locks, 740ft x 78ft 


Trent-Severn - 240 miles - 44 locks, 84ft x 23ft


Rideau Canal - 126 miles - 47 locks, 90ft x 28ft


*Coast Guard Boarding  -


 Ever wonder if the Coast Guard has the right to board your vessle? Uh, yep they do.





*Firearms in Canada  -


 So you are worried about protection on your boat in the Great Lakes in Canada. I'm not a lawyer and don't play one on TV. Nor have I stayed at a Holiday Inn recently. 

 Always remember that boat flare guns are a safety measure on a vessel, that can be used in many ways. Plus they are legal to have on a boat in both countries. Keep the flares up to date and numbers. 

 For intruders, aim for that cupped Adam's Apple area of the throat. This will somewhat hold the charge on the perpetrator as you reload. Google for pics on what kind of injuries a flare can do to a body.

 Be aware of your surroundings, as to not catch your boat on fire. Escape as soon as possible from all danger. 


 One other sidenote is to chain and lock your boat mid-cleat to the dock at night. This way some late night hooligan isn't setting you adrift. 









*My Wake Rant -


 Here because I own this website, I get to complain about irresponsible boaters and their wakes. Your waves breaking white as they come off of your boat or the 4ft splashes on the banks of the canal. Try turning around and look at the destruction that you are causing. 

 Most boaters don't realize that the Western Erie Canal sits above ground. My property is on the southern side, so I'm about 12ft above the waterlevel. On the northern side of the canal, that is the oppositte. Just down the street it is about 20ft below the waterlevel. 

 Your wake is erroding the embankment behind those big rough cut boulders. Just take a look at the 1ft of extended water out from the rock edge and see that it is muddy brown. So that isn't coming from the bottom of the canal. It is washing the dirt behind the large stones. 


 But here is the federal rule on the issue.





 The pictures below are of my 'Wake Douchebag Hall of Fame'. 

Boaters that don't get it or just don't care. 

 The Fall of 2022. The one I timed in my truck doing 30mph. I know this as the road along the canal speed limit is 30mph. The canal water speed limit is 10mph.

 The Blue and Red hull boat was in front of that white boat. Both were doing 30mph. About a half mile from this spot, the first boat crashed up onto the rocky bank. Nobody was injured. The Capt was below peeing while his wife hit the wheel to crash it. He claimed to be doing 12mph, Uh which is still speeding. 


 Now July 2023. I had two more boaters doing 30mph. The "A" Team, must mean A-hole?


 Photos below are boats that passed thru the western section here in 2020. If you might have any concerns on your air draft, these setups made it under the 15.5ft restriction. 

 As you can see in the pics, lay down your radar masts; hinge your arches; remove the canopy; take down your anchor light. Most all of that will not be needed in traveling the Erie Canal. 



Our location and how to contact us...


On the Erie Canal

Gasport, NY


Call or text: email for phone number


*best way to catch me...









*worst way to find me. Still don't know how to tweet...

Twitter: twitter.com/PiratesChest1



      your  wake!!!

      Slow Please!


      and less in some places.

 The western Erie Canal does have speed limits. 

 The Canal Corp staff at the locks and the lift bridges, actually keep track of your times passing thru. They contact the staff at your next stop, to let them know traffic is coming and to expect your arrival time. Some staff even operate two separate lift bridges.

 Slow down.

 Also bank erosion.

 Even though the banks of the canal is covered in large rocks, your wake is undermining it.

 This is why we have these ''Guard Gates'' that you pass under every few miles. If the canals embankment has a blowout, these drop to prevent mass water exiting. It has happened.

 Watch your wake. 

*Please put contact info on your outdoor gear like kayaks; canoe; dingy; life jackets / preservers; throw rings; bumpers / fenders. Anything that can come off your boat.

 The reason is, say if your kayak slipped off without you knowing and is found out by itself. Now local fire depts and the Coast Guard will be out looking for a potential water rescue victim(s).

 These rescue teams can contact you without doing a massive search for a non-existing emergency.

 We all want to find those in need of help, but wayward items just puts undue stress on resources.

 Thank you. 


 If you are out on the Great Lakes or other waterways around them and looking to eat. 

 'Dock and Dine' lists eateries that you can easily access by boat. In most cases you can dock right there or it is a very short walk. 

 Check them out or send them a link to your favorite place for them to list.





 Hey, do you live on the Erie Canal or close by and want to be a local host? 

 Hosts help people on the canal like the walkers; cyclists; kayakers; boaters and others. All these groups are so different, yet use the same space here on the canal. Local people that live on the canal, see all the people and some want to help. 

 Mixed in the listing on the webpages here will be a few Erie Canal Hosts. They might have a private dock; a place to pitch a tent or RV spot; a parking spot for your car or trailer for an extended stay; a local onsite person to help with issues or as a guide. 

 Does that sound like something you want to assist with? Send me a message and I will try to explain the details better. 



 Do you need your boats AC unit serviced?

 Located in Tonawanda NY, western end of the Erie Canal. Call Tim (716) 831-0333


 Fellow big boat owner and good guy.


 Need a Ford Bronco rental in Buffalo NY? 


 How about do you need a campsite on the western Erie Canal?

 You are in luck...



Print | Sitemap
© pirates-chest.com