Everything you need to know about the locks on Lake Champlain to New York or via Oswego without forgetting the locks on the Chambly Canal

Everything you need to know about the locks on Lake Champlain to New York or via Oswego without forgetting the locks on the Chambly Canal

On the way to New York by Lake Champlain or Lake Ontario…

The Chambly Canal and other canals.


The new season is on the horizon.

The opening of the canals to New York via Lake Champlain or via Oswego via Great Lake Ontario will take place this year on May 19, 2023, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. The 2023 season will end on October 11.

Some locks may close later than 5pm. You must contact them to see what hours they are open or extended.

 Écluse de Whitehall

They do have recruitment problems with personnel, so some locks may require contacting them in advance so that employees are present.

To contact them (New York State Canals):

You must not forget the limits in terms of height, what is called the air draft, you can also look at the technical data sheet of your boat and look under the name BRIDGE CLEARANCE or AIR DRAFT.

For the boats that use the Champlain Canal, the maximum air draft is 17 ft.

And for those going through Oswego (Lake Ontario), the air draft is 21.31 ft.

Of course, there may be variations.

For example, a bridge under repair can lower the available height by a few inches and sometimes more.

For the other data on lock dimensions, the length of each lock in the system allows for boats 300 feet long by 43.5 feet wide.

So the real difficulty is the height of the boat, from the water line and up.

CHAMBLY CANAL and others canals in Québec : 

The locks of the Chambly Canal are necessary to reach the St-Lawrence River via Sorel from Lake Champlain and will open on May 19th.

Here is the schedule of the (CHAMBLY CANAL) and information to contact them:

To contact the lock keepers of the Chambly canal:

Chambly (locks no 1-2-3) : 450-658-4381

Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (lock no 9) : 450-348-3392

By VHF-channel 68 during operating hours.

Here are some technical data about the Chambly Canal:

Technical data

– Length: 19.31 km (12 miles)

– Total vertical drop: approximately 24 m (over 78 feet)

– Guaranteed draft: 2 m (6 feet and 6 inches)

– Clearance below decks: 8.84 m (29 feet)

– Useful dimensions of the smallest lock: 33.52 m x 7 m (110 feet x 23 feet)

– Number of locks: 9

– Number of active bridges: 7

– Maximum speed allowed: 10 km/h or no wake

– Estimated travel time: 3 to 5 hours

Here is the link to the Parks Canada website about all the historic canals and waterways:

For information on the St. Lawrence Seaway locks (St-Lambert, Beauharnois, etc),operations begin permanently for the summer on Friday, May ?? click on this link.

And for those who dream of exploration and adventure, here is a map of all the canals in North America including the famous route: The Great Loop.

Stay safe and have a great season.

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