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Transiting a vessel through the Welland Canal


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We have purchased a boat in Michigan and need to get it through Canada (the Welland Canal) to bring it to Lake Ontario (US Side).

Can anyone point me in the direction of how to go about doing this?

We have started speaking to Canada Customs but are also looking for any experiences with this as well.

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  • carlwasher changed the title to Transiting a vessel through the Welland Canal

HI

You should look at this site https://greatlakes-seaway.com/en/ . I have gone through the Welland Canal up bound by sailboat. For up bound it required a minimum of 3 peopleon the boat, I believe for down bound (which is the way you will be going) it only requires 2 people. Can't remember exactly how long it took, close to 12 hrs. We had to dock at the first look for about 8 hrs to let commercial traffic clear before they would put us through. Hope this helps a bit.

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If entering and exiting Canada is not an option, how about the Erie Canal from Buffalo and exit at Rochester? Would require dropping the mast. Not sure where on Lake O you will be home porting. 

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https://greatlakes-seaway.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/pcb_wel210422_en.pdf

International Border Crossing

Pleasure Craft users wishing to cross the international border to transit the locks should first consult with CBSA or Homeland Security as the right of innocent passage may not apply for transit in the locks as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

 

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2 hours ago, carlwasher said:

We have purchased a boat in Michigan and need to get it through Canada (the Welland Canal) to bring it to Lake Ontario (US Side).

Can anyone point me in the direction of how to go about doing this?

We have started speaking to Canada Customs but are also looking for any experiences with this as well.

Down bound is easy, you don't have the turbulence that you would when they fill the locks.  Keep in mind, that the Canal system was made for commercial traffic.  Long lines to tie to ship spaced bowlards is a must and some good fenders are essential.  There is a long stretch of motoring, so make sure you have ample fuel. 

Since COVID, you as the owner are not allowed on the boat for the trip, if you are American.  If this is the case you will need to hire a captain and then meet the boat at the dock at Youngstown, NY once the boat completes the trip. You will need to contact the canal authority and make your reservation and take care of payment. Most people who were transiting the canal were staging themselves at Erie Basin in Buffalo NY, and then heading to Port Colbourne the day of their reservation.

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1 hour ago, USA 236 said:

Down bound is easy, you don't have the turbulence that you would when they fill the locks.  Keep in mind, that the Canal system was made for commercial traffic.  Long lines to tie to ship spaced bowlards is a must and some good fenders are essential.  There is a long stretch of motoring, so make sure you have ample fuel. 

Since COVID, you as the owner are not allowed on the boat for the trip, if you are American.  If this is the case you will need to hire a captain and then meet the boat at the dock at Youngstown, NY once the boat completes the trip. You will need to contact the canal authority and make your reservation and take care of payment. Most people who were transiting the canal were staging themselves at Erie Basin in Buffalo NY, and then heading to Port Colbourne the day of their reservation.

Good info Thank you!

Lets make this interesting...My wife is a USCG Licensed Captain. Can I hire her to deliver the boat?

Where do I start to get the paperwork forms etc?

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5 hours ago, wick said:

If entering and exiting Canada is not an option, how about the Erie Canal from Buffalo and exit at Rochester? Would require dropping the mast. Not sure where on Lake O you will be home porting. 

There are going to be a bunch of negative nancys that will say not to do this, but I say, go for it. Just fucking go for it. 

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I am also in the same position, just bought a boat in Port Clinton, OH and trying to bring back to Wilson, NY.  I will talk to a few captains to see the rate(not sure of the cost).  However, will also explore the cost and time to drop the mast, take the canal all the way to Oswego and head back west again...not sure what I will do.  I am hoping Jul4th the Welland may open....no confident though.

 

Ned

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On 5/4/2021 at 2:50 PM, carlwasher said:

Good info Thank you!

Lets make this interesting...My wife is a USCG Licensed Captain. Can I hire her to deliver the boat?

Where do I start to get the paperwork forms etc?

No, you can not hire your wife.  I can tell you first hand from a couple that tried to do this last season.  Find a captain, hire them.  There are many people in Buffalo with Captains licences.  I wouldn't hire them....  Dave Block is the one local guy who does it for a living.  I think he is ok, but no first hand experience. 

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There is a pleasure craft guide for the St Lawrence Seaway.  Tells you everything you need to know, well, when there isn't a plague it tells you everything you need to know.  https://greatlakes-seaway.com/en/recreational-boating/pleasure-craft-guide/

As far as the closed border goes, if you want to do the trip yourself, the Erie Canal is a reasonable option.  If not, you may be facing some challenges, I wouldn't just show up in Port Colborne without discussing it with Canada Customs first.  Maybe give them a call, find out from them what your options are.

 

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On 5/11/2021 at 12:31 PM, USA 236 said:

No, you can not hire your wife.  I can tell you first hand from a couple that tried to do this last season.  Find a captain, hire them.  There are many people in Buffalo with Captains licences.  I wouldn't hire them....  Dave Block is the one local guy who does it for a living.  I think he is ok, but no first hand experience. 

I used to sail Hobies with Dave back in the day...small world

Any chance you have contact info??

 

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Until June 2nd you are not allowed to use your boat or watercraft in Canadian( specifically Ontario waters ) waters.  We are (us Canadians that is) allowed to work on our boats to prep them for launch, launch them and then we have to leave them tied to the dock until the lock-down in Ontario is over.  As the canal is in Ontario you may find it closed to pleasure boats.

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Marinas and yacht clubs are closed to recreational boating, but boating is allowed.  I live on the Rideau system and there are a fair number of boats out.  They are accessing the water via private cottages, municipal and conservation area boat ramps.  

An Ontario marina stop isn't required for a Welland Canal transit.   One could easily start the day in Buffalo and end the day in Youngstown.  It would make for a long day, but pleasure craft transits of the Welland always make for a long day.

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