Recreational Boating

Get Canals boating information including hours of operation; locks, lift bridges and guard gate details; how to lock through the canals; a canals map; and more.
A picturesque aerial view of a canal with several boats navigating through it. The canal is flanked by lush green trees and a well-maintained grassy area on one side. A quaint town with a mix of older and newer houses is visible on the left, while a road runs parallel to the canal on the right. In the background, a bridge spans the canal, and beyond it, rolling hills covered in dense forest stretch into the distance. The scene is vibrant and serene, capturing a peaceful day in a small, scenic town.

Hours of Operation

The canals are open to recreational mariners from mid-May to mid-October daily from 8 am – 5 pm. However, certain locks operate on unique schedules, so boaters are encouraged to review the Boating Hours to ensure their planned route and timing is viable.

Locks, Lift Bridges and Guard Gates Details

Contact Information for these facilities, during Non-Navigation Season or when there is no answer, can be found on the Contact Us page.

Lock Information
Bridge Heights and Lift Bridge Information
Canal Speed Limits

Champlain Canal

  • C-12 to C-8: 10 MPH
  • C-8 to C-7: 5 MPH
  • C-7 to Crocker's Reef: 45 MPH
  • Crocker's Reef to C-6 (land cut): 10 MPH
  • C-6 to Northumberland (approach piers to land cut): 45 MPH
  • Northumberland to C-5: 10 MPH
  • C-5 to C-4 cut (bridge): 45 MPH
  • C-4 cut: 10 MPH C-4 to C-1: 30 MPH
  • C-1 to Waterford: 30 MPH

Erie Canal

  • E-2 to E-6: 5 MPH
  • E-6 to E-12: 45 MPH
  • E-12 to E-16: 30 MPH
  • E-16 to E-17: 10 MPH
  • E-17 to Guard Gate #4: 5 MPH
  • Guard Gate #4 to E-21: 10 MPH
  • E-21 to Sylvan Beach Breakwater: 5 MPH
  • Oneida Lake: No Speed Limit I-81 Bridge (E-63A) to and including State Ditch Cut: 10 MPH
  • R "408" at western end of State Ditch Cut to E-26: 30 MPH
  • E-26 to E-32: 10 MPH E-32 to E-33: 5 MPH
  • E-33 to Three Mile Island: 10 MPH
  • Three Mile Island to Niagara River: 5 MPH

Oswego Canal

  • Three Rivers to O-2: 10 MPH
  • O-2 to O-3: 5 MPH
  • O-3 to O-6: 10 MPH
  • O-6 to O-8: 5 MPH

Cayuga-Seneca Canal

  • Cayuga-Seneca / Erie Canal Junction to Lock CS-1: 30 MPH
  • CS-1 to Seneca Lake: 10 MPH
  • Seneca Lake: No Speed Limit
  • Southern Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen to Montour Falls Navigation Channel: 5 MPH
  • Cayuga Lake: No Speed Limit
  • Southern Cayuga Lake, Ithaca Navigation Channel – 5 MPH

Onondaga Lake Cut

  • Junction to Lake: 5 MPH
  • Onondaga Lake: No Speed Limit
  • Lake to Inner Harbor: 5 MPH

Genesee River

  • Erie Canal to Corn Hill Landing: 10 MPH
Guard Gate Information

How to Lock Through The Canals

Step 1: Approaching the Lock

On approach, hail the Lock Operator on Marine Channel 13, call using your mobile phone, use the On the Canals Boater App (where available) or by sounding three blasts on your horn to signal that you are approaching and require service. A red light indicates that the lock is not ready. Maintain a safe distance and stand by for a green light. Before entering the lock, ensure that fenders are properly positioned. 
A person stands on a yacht as it navigates through a canal lock under a partly cloudy sky. The lock, identified as number 16, has its gates closed, and a small control booth is visible nearby. The surrounding area is lush with greenery, and flags fly above the lock. The scene is bright and serene, capturing a moment of boat travel through a canal system.

Step 2: Entering the Lock

A green light means that you are clear to proceed ahead. Enter the lock slowly and maintain line of approach. Once inside the lock chamber, station your vessel alongside the lock wall as directed by the Lock Operator.
A yacht gently enters the open gate of Lock E16 on the Erie Canal, under a bright sunny sky, surrounded by lush greenery.

Step 3: Inside the Lock Chamber

During the lockage, keep the bow and stern of your vessel close to the wall by looping line either to available holding apparatuses (pipes or cables, where available) or by holding the lines provided (except non-Canal-owned lock at Troy Federal, which only has pipes and cables). Do not tie lines. Serious injury can result from using your hands or feet to fend a moving boat off of a wall. Use a boat hook, paddle or oar. Do not wrap lines around hands or feet as lines may tighten and cause injury.
A yacht securely moored inside the lock chamber of Lock E17 on the Erie Canal, with crew members standing on deck under a clear blue sky, flanked by lush green foliage.

Step 4: Exiting the Lock

When the lock gates have fully open, take in your lines and shove off away from the wall. Proceed slowly out of the lock chamber. Maintain “lock limit” speed before increase to cruising speed. 
A yacht slowly exits the gate of Lock E16 on the Erie Canal, gliding past a stone and metal gate structure under a clear blue sky, surrounded by lush foliage.


Vessels may moor at Canal Corporation docks or terminals up to 48 hours during a calendar month. Mooring at these facilities is free, with services such as electric, water and pumpouts available for a fee. Vessels looking to moor longer than 48 hours must apply for a permit. These permits are typically reserved for commercial or non-recreational vehicles, barring extenuating circumstances. 
The image shows a canal with several boats docked along the sides. People are gathered on the walkways beside the canal, and there are tents set up, indicating a festival or event taking place. The water is calm and reflects the surrounding trees and buildings. This scene is from the Seneca Falls Canalfest event.
An aerial view of a canal with boats traveling through it, surrounded by dense greenery. On the left, a small town with various houses can be seen, while a road runs alongside the canal on the right. A prominent building with a tower is visible among the trees on the right side. In the distance, a bridge spans the canal, and beyond it, rolling hills covered in forest extend into the horizon. The scene is peaceful and verdant, showcasing a tranquil day in a picturesque small town.

Navigating the Canals

Get acquainted with the various factors you’ll need to consider while planning your journey and view helpful tutorials to ensure your personal safety and that of other canal visitors.

Canals Map

Our interactive map helps you plan and identify points of interest along your route.

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Listings of commercial and municipal enterprises are a courtesy to our audiences and provided for information purposes only. Identification or reference to any particular enterprise does not constitute or imply its endorsement, favoring or recommendation by the Canal Corporation. Contact enterprises directly for their most accurate information.
The image shows a smartphone displaying the "On The Canals" app. The app is open to a map view, showing the Erie Canal system. The user's hand holds the smartphone, indicating interaction. Two red markers indicate the locations of Lock E24 Baldwinville and Lock CS1 Cayuga on the canal route. Additionally, there are blue lines representing the canal paths and text labels indicating nearby cities such as Syracuse and Auburn.

On the Canals Boater App 

Our smartphone app lets you contact operators at participating locks and lift bridges when you're ready to transit to your next destination.

Beautiful scene of blue tranquil water with a boat moving through the canal water and lush green landscape on either side of the canal

NYS Boater’s Guide

There's a lot to remember as a boater, so we've compiled everything you need to know into a handy, easy-to-use guide, available as a PDF download.

Waterway Trail Stewardship Program 

We love our canals and want to preserve them for generations to come.

Invasive Species

The NYS Canal Corporation plays an important role in mitigating the spread of invasive species (IS).

Environmental Stewardship Program

Environmental Stewardship is recognized as one of the primary responsibilities of the Canal Corporation.

See all Notice to Mariners Alerts & Sign Up

Sign-up for alerts on Canal operations.