Check Out Our FAQs

These are some of the frequently asked questions we receive about the Canal System. Have a question that's not answered here? Please contact us by email or phone, and we would be happy to help you.

Contact Us
A serene scene of an electric boat undergoing testing on Oneida Lake, highlighting the tranquil waters and smooth operation, perfect for boating.
How long is the New York State Canal System?

The Erie Canal is 339 miles long from Waterford (Albany) to Tonawanda (Buffalo). Including its laterals, the Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca Canals, the entire system mileage equals 524.

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

One should budget a minimum of five (5) 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.)

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

There are a total of 57 locks and 17 lift bridges on the Canal System (including the lateral canals).

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.

How deep is the Canal System?

The standard published depths can be found in the About the Canal System section. Any shallower departures from these depths are listed by waterway in the regularly updated NavInfo tables. Any sudden change in depth would also be announced in a notice to mariners.

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

The governing overhead clearances for the various canal sections can be found in the About the Canal System section. Alternatively, they are listed at the top of the NavInfo table for each waterway. Additionally, in these tables the air draft under each overhead structure is listed in tenths of a foot. Even more detailed bridge height information can be found in the Bridge Height Tables. In these tables the "Normal Overhead Clearance" column represents the typical overhead clearances under all but extraordinary conditions (extreme weather/high water events).

Do I need a permit for a dinghy in tow?

An unpermitted dinghy may be towed behind a permitted vessel through canal structures, as long as its motor is off, it is of a configuration that will not cause damage to other vessels (Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) preferred) or snag on lock ladders, is obviously a dedicated landing craft (not a personal watercraft, distressed vessel in tow, etc.), and has the mothership owner's contact information clearly on it (in the event that it becomes disconnected and lost underway).

How do I get to Lake George from the Canal?

At its northernmost point in Ticonderoga, Lake George is a few miles away from Lake Champlain. The two are connected by the 3.5 mile long LaChute River, a cascading 225 foot drop, non-navigable waterway. There is, however, portage available through Snug Harbor Marina for boats under 32' in length.

How do I get to Saratoga Springs from the Canal?

Saratoga Springs is 12 miles away from Schuylerville (mile 25) on the Champlain Canal. Boaters can stop at Schuyler Yacht Basin and take a taxi cab into Saratoga Springs.

How do I get to Cooperstown from the Canal?

Cooperstown, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, is 27 miles away from Herkimer (mile 87) on the Erie Canal. Boaters can stop at Gems Along the Mohawk docks or nearby harbors in Little Falls or Ilion and rent a car.

Morning scene at Lock E2 of the Erie Canal, featuring a metal truss bridge spanning over calm water. Boats are moored along the canal banks, and lush greenery lines the shore. The sky is partly cloudy with soft sunlight illuminating the surroundings.

Boating on the Canals

View information about this year's boating season, including hours of operation and more details on the Canal Corporation's continued collaboration with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).