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Commercial Shipping and Towing

The New York State Canal System is a 524-mile long, commercially viable waterway connecting the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, Finger Lakes, and Lake Champlain. The federally improved route between Waterford and Oswego provides a vertical clearance of at least 21 feet; the Champlain Canal has at least 17 feet; Cayuga-Seneca Canal, 16; and the western Erie Canal, 15.5.  The controlling depth on the Erie Canal between Waterford and Oswego is currently 11 feet; the Champlain Canal is 9.5 feet; Cayuga-Seneca Canal, 8; and the western Erie Canal, 9.  Efforts are underway to return the Canal System to its published depth of 14 feet from Waterford to Oswego and 12 feet elsewhere.

One can view a summary of bridge clearances and normal channel depths, a detailed listing of each overhead structure, or a listing of current controlling depths by canal mileage.  If even more information is desired please call (518) 471-5014 during normal business hours, or (518) 461-0942 after hours.  Round-the-clock lock and lift bridge operation is available to commercial vessels whose captains give twenty-four hour advance notice of their intent to navigate the system outside of regular hours of operation.

View the Commercial Shipping Study, May 2010 - New York State Canal System, Modern Freight-way. PDF 

Permits and Fees

All commercial vessels (shippers and tour operators) navigating the Canal System must obtain a permit by filing the application above with the Canal Corporation and by mailing it in or faxing it. If you have questions please call (518) 471-5014.

The annual fees for commercial operators to navigate the Canal System are:

  • $750 tug and barges;
  • $300 per hire boat;
  • $30 per passenger capacity, for tour vessels with overnight accommodations;
  • $10 per passenger capacity, for hour dayliners.

Lock Information

The locks of the New York State Canal System have a usable length of 296 feet and a usable width of 44.45 feet. The Canal Corporation recommends a beam of no greater than 43.5 feet. Every lock on the New York State Canal System is equipped with a capstan for the purposes of double locking. Several Canal terminals remain available for commercial use. A list of these terminals is available by calling (518) 471-5014.

A variety of Aids to Navigation mark the channels of the New York Canal System, with the vast majority of these aids being unlighted. Products still shipped on the Canal System include pre-fabricated rebar caissons, liquid calcium chloride, radar dome material, commercial paper dryers, aggregate, turbines, commercial boilers, transformers, and other over-sized cargo.

Barge Towing Companies Serving the NYS Canal System

Coeymans Marine Towing - (518) 756-2164
2170 Route 144, P. O. Box 890, Coeymans, NY 12045

D. Brake Marine, LLC – (203) 996-6055
314 Summer Hill Rd., Madison, CT 06443

Donjon Marine, LLC – (518) 465-6505 or (908) 353-2600
11 D River Road, Glenmont, NY 12077

Kalyan Off Shore – (315) 255-6955
2330 Turnpike Road, Auburn, NY 13021

NYS Marine Highway – (518) 272-5341 or (518) 365-3305
427 River Street, Troy, NY 12180

Riverside Towing - 315-482-2812
PO Box 23, Plessis, NY 13675

Additional Marine Contractors Serving the NYS Canal System

BIDCO Marine Group – (716) 847-1111
220 Katherine St, Buffalo, NY 14210

C.D. Perry & Son, LLC – (518) 272-0831
Foot of Monroe Street, P.O. Box 866, Troy, NY 12181

D.A. Collins Companies – (518) 664-9855
101 Route 67, PO Box 191, Mechanicville, NY 12118

Empire Marine Corporation – (585) 317-0013
P.O. Box 701, Hilton, NY 14468

Gibbs Marine Group – (585) 663-8990
118 Petten Street, Rochester, NY 14612

Herbert F. Darling, Inc. – (716) 632-1125
131 California Drive, Williamsville, NY 14221

Kev-Col Co. Inc. – (845) 454-8246
15 Peckham Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Miller's Launch – (718) 727-7303
Pier 7½, Staten Island, NY 10301

Tioga Construction Co. Inc. – (315) 732-1030
333 Gros Blvd., Herkimer, NY 13350