Bridge Heights & Canal Speed Limits

Explore Canal Speed Limits for safe navigation and learn about Normal Water Surface Elevation and Overhead Clearance.
A boat passing under a bridge undergoing maintenance on the Erie Canal in Fairport, NY. Workers are visible on scaffolding beneath the bridge, conducting repairs or construction.

Bridge Heights

In the tables below, the Normal Water Surface Elevation is the height above sea level at which a canal segment (pool) is typically maintained. The Normal Overhead Clearance is the height between this water surface and the bottom of a structure crossing over the waterway. During high stormwater flows, the pool elevation can be higher, but never higher than the Maximum Water Surface Elevation.

All elevations are in Barge Canal Datum (BCD), which was established prior to the NGVD29 or NAVD88 standards commonly found on other government websites. The current BCD water surface elevation can be obtained by calling the nearest lock and asking for the gage reading of either the upper or lower pool.

View Lock Information.

Bridge Heights Tables
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.

Canal Speed Limits

Canal Speed Limits are established to regulate the speeds of vessels transiting through the New York State Canal System in a way that minimizes wake damage to residential property and canal infrastructure, while ensuring that recreational and commercial boaters have a safe and enjoyable experience on the waterway.

Locks along the Canal System are set up to admit traffic through based on travel times in accordance with established limits, so exceeding the speed limit when traveling from lock to lock will not result in traveling through the Canal System more quickly. Boaters who exceed the speed limit may be subject to fines.

Speed limits established for vessels traveling through the Canal System do not necessarily apply to smaller recreational vessels using the rivers, lakes, and reservoirs which comprise the Canal System, but not traveling through the locks. Operators of these vessels should ensure compliance with all aspects of NYS Navigation Law, and local ordinances and advisories. Observe "No Wake" restrictions, and boat safely and courteously.

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
A sign near Lock E-13 indicating a Canal Speed Limit of 10 miles per hour with a "No Wake" zone, located at the Mohawk Valley Welcome Center off the westbound Thruway in Montgomery County.
Aerial view of Sylvan Beach, NY, showcasing an electric boat being tested on Oneida Lake. The boat creates a wake as it moves through the calm blue waters. Sylvan Beach's shoreline, dotted with trees and buildings, is visible in the background, while a person stands on a dock in the middle ground.

Boating Overview

Enjoy cruising the scenic New York State Canals. Whether you're experienced or setting out on the canals for the first time, you'll find everything you need to guarantee a safe and enjoyable time.