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Old 01-07-2015, 03:50   #1
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Cost to use the Panama canal

I'm planning a trip that will take me to Hawaii and was wondering if anyone knew the cost to use the panama canal or if cruisers are even still allowed to use it since they widened it to accept panamax ships?
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:01   #2
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

Our info is a bit old but it was about $1200 for a 41' boat ( they measure bow sprits and windvanes.) This was pretty much paying for everything. Doing most everything yourself gets the cost down under $900
The way I understand it, we may be a pain in the ass but they will still let us through.
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:56   #3
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

Thanks for the info 😃 Honestly that's a lot better than I was expecting I'm just glad they'll still let cruisers through I was concerned about it with them enlarging the canal.


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Old 01-07-2015, 10:44   #4
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

I last transited in 2011, and I spent about $2k for a 45 ft boat. This includes using an agent, a week in Shelter Bay marina, the mandatory cruising permit, and the extortionate immigration fees. A lot cheaper than going round the Horn.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:49   #5
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

Hi little otter, we went through last year and did everything ourselves. We wrote all about our experiences and how to do it as cheaply as possible in our blog. It's one of our most looked at blog posts. Having experience of the little canals here in England we were a little apprehensive of the task but we found the canal authority delightful and the whole experience brilliant and pretty good value. They actually make a loss on cruising boats but still happily let us through at a reasonable price as a good will gesture in the interest of good foreign relations.
How to organise it yourself and save some money:
http://www.impetuoustoo.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/panama-canal-without-an-agent..html
How our two days through went:
http://www.impetuoustoo.blogspot.co.nz/2014/05/pacific-bound.html
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:58   #6
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

www.panamacanal.com
there was a price hike recently(mas o menos 2-3 yrs), so you might wanna go to the panama canal web site online to find out the real prices. have fun.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:05   #7
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

I went through the Canal in March on a 30' monohull. The fees you pay to the Canal Authority are $1850 up front for a boat under 50'but you get $891 of that back via wire transfer a couple of weeks later if you don't bang anything going through. Other costs depend on how resourceful you are and your tolerance for living on the hook vs. using Shelter Bay Marina on the Caribbean side, or several anchorages near the Canal entrance on the Pacific side, while making arrangements for the transit. You can use an agent or not, you can hire line handlers or find volunteers, and you can provide your own 100' lines and fenders for the transit or you can rent them. I paid a total of about $1500 for agent/lines/fenders and two paid line handlers on top of the $1000 Canal transit fee (net after the refund).

There are currently two parallel sets of locks in operation - three going up to Lake Gatun and three going back down. A totally new set of much larger locks is under construction and will supposedly open up in 2016. You can see the construction on rides into Colon from Shelter Bay, and a bit at the Pacific end of the Canal. There is no problem about going through with a yacht - many people are doing it. We went up into Lake Gatun as a raft of three sailboats, following a container ship into the three locks at that end. At the Pacific end, there was a single large sailboat ahead of us (a 70 footer), followed by the same raft of three smaller boats. The Canal Authority decides on these configurations and you don't know for sure what the arrangement is going to be until the advisor boards your boat outside the first lock. The whole thing went very smoothly and the advisors are very competent. All of them are required to have English language capability, but if you speak Spanish they will be happy to revert back to their native tongue.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:26   #8
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

Awesome I've had some dealings in the past with Panamanian merchant Mariners and I'm glad to hear that their professionalism wasn't just a show for us at the academy I had heard some stories about some of their operating procedures I'm also glad to hear about them making a new set of locks for the Panamax ships instead of doing like our dot does for roads😋


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Old 02-07-2015, 09:45   #9
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

what do you mean with doing everything ourselves?
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:06   #10
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

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Originally Posted by Huskybeer View Post
what do you mean with doing everything ourselves?
There is a bit of running around that at first seems like a bit of trouble. So you hire an agent and they do some of the running around or calling for you. They speak to other Panamanians and canal officials and take care of a few details. An agent can get the 4 line handlers the 125' lines and tires for your fenders. You still do a some things yourself so it's not like when you hire an agent you don't have to do anything but it's easier and costs a few hundred bucks.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:59   #11
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

All the rates are published online but you've got to look hard for all the "ups and extras" that will be added to the basic published fees. As well as having to pay to tie up and wait somewhere, if you aren't scheduled through right away. (And they have had some labor problems that caused extensive delays not so long ago.)
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Old 02-07-2015, 14:35   #12
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

The last time I transit ed the ditch in a 32' sportfisher, Ruby 2, built in the zone, it cost $13 American. The 36' van de Stadt I traded for it cost me $9. Oh yeah, that was the last century, when we owned the Canal. $2K is still cheaper than trucking across country.
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:34   #13
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

Quote:
Originally Posted by jreiter190 View Post
The last time I transit ed the ditch in a 32' sportfisher, Ruby 2, built in the zone, it cost $13 American. The 36' van de Stadt I traded for it cost me $9. Oh yeah, that was the last century, when we owned the Canal. $2K is still cheaper than trucking across country.
I think my uncle was the last US manager of the locks before hand-over. Those were the days. He noted that it costs nothing to run small boat through with other boats. The big money was on commercial vessels. Since the water transferred per lock cycle is always identical, there is no penalty for shoving in as many small boats as can be accommodated. The real limitation is the total amount of fresh water available for filling the locks so more boats/cycle is best.

Truman Hoenke Obituary - Homosassa, Florida - Wilder Funeral Home

Panama Canal spillway =


In those days, the canal zone was like a country club with everyone knowing all of the others in a gated community. Aunt Betsy taught swimming on Gatun Lake. She said everyone learns if you tell them you see a croc.
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:11   #14
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

There's a two part article in the June and July 2015 Blue Water Sailing magazine We Don't Need No Stinkin' Agents that covers all the costs and the sign-up process for the Canal as well as handling the boat going through. I know its a good article because I wrote it
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Old 08-01-2016, 03:43   #15
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Re: Cost to use the Panama canal

So does any one know roughly what the cost for an 85ft boat is likely to be to transit. I can't find any inf online. There seems to be a lot of 'the price really jumps up after 50 ft' advice but I can't find any official or anecdotal info on cost of anything bigger than that.
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