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New York State Canals

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What is the New York State Canal System?

View the About the Canal Corporation section for more information.

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What is the New York State Canal Corporation?

The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority. View the About the Canal Corporation section for more information.

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What is the New York State Canal Recreationway Commission?

View the About the Canal Corporation section for more information.

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How long is the New York State Canal System?

The NYS Canal System is 524 miles long.

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How long does it take to cruise between Albany and Buffalo on the Erie Canal?

On average, it takes approximately seven (7) days to cruise between Albany and Buffalo on the Erie.  (The Erie Canal begins at the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers at Waterford, just north of Albany, and meets the Niagara River at Tonawanda/North Tonawanda, just north of Buffalo.)

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How many locks and lift bridges are on the Canal System?

There are 57 locks and 17 lift bridges on the Canal System.

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How big are the locks on the Canal System?

All Canal System lock dimensions are 328 feet long and 45 feet wide. The area available for vessels within a lock is 300 feet long, 43.5 feet wide.

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What are the Canal System's operating hours?

Canal System locks and lift bridges typically operate from early May to November, dependent upon weather. Locks and lift bridges operate daily during peak navigation season (late May to early September) from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Hours are reduced during other periods of the navigation season. See the Hours of Operation for exact dates of the Canal System's navigation season daily operating hours at locks and lift bridges.

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How deep is the Canal System?

View the About the Canal Corporation section for more information.

Please consult current notices to mariners for updated canal depth information.

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What are the height restrictions for navigating on the Canal System?

View the About the Canal Corporation section for more information.

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What is the speed limit on the Canal System?

Speed limits on the Canal System vary by section. Mariners should obey posted speed limit signs. Speed limit signs are posted at strategic locations throughout the Canal System, including at every lock location, to indicate the maximum allowable speed ahead for that section. These speed limits do not relieve a mariner of his or her responsibility to navigate with caution and prudence, and in compliance with Coast Guard Inland Navigation Rules, New York state Navigation Law and Canal Corporation Rules and Regulations and any other applicable law. Mariners should extend other boaters every courtesy, and come to a no wake speed when passing or meeting other vessels underway on the Canal System. The Canal Corporation encourages all mariners to practice safe boating throughout the navigation season.

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What does it cost to travel on the Canal System?

All boats passing through a lock or lift bridge on the Canal System must purchase the appropriate pass. Tolls for recreational vessels are based on vessel size.

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