From: “Noonsite” http://www.noonsite.com/
New Panama Canal Procedure For Yachts
Last modified on 2005-04-27 13:17:55
Noonsite has just received the following report from Giorgio Cagliero who had just transited the Panama canal, and found that both the fees
and procedure for pleasure craft has been changed:
We just completed our southbound transit of the Panama Canal on our Hallberg-Rassy 46, and found the new way of handling sailboats to be quite different from what it used to be (not to mention much more pricey) or from what cruising guides
We used Tina McBride as our handling agent and we think she did a great job. However there are new fees
that add up quite a bit. The new thing is that sailboats transits start around 5 pm or 6 pm, or sometimes later at night. Your advisor/pilot takes you through the first locks into Gatun Lake where you moor to a big mooring
buoy to spend the rest of the night. Normally 3 sailboats go through each day and they raft together at the buoy. The advisor then leaves and another advisor arrives in the morning to complete the transit. So far so good. And these are the fees for a sailboat less than 50':
$600 transit fee
$850 buffer (to be refunded)
$440 delay fee (because you did not complete your transit in one day...like you had a choice..)
$320 launch fee (to get your advisors back and forth to your boat)
fee (to be rafted to a rusty mooring buoy in Gatun)
Total fees : $1,460 + $850 buffer + $500 handling agent (if you use one)
And then there is the wait: this season was anywhere from 10 to 19 days, most of the time being 15 days.
Now if you don't want to wait for 15 or more days in “lovely” Colon, you may request a pilot instead of an advisor and you can pick any day you like to transit and most likely you'll start the transit early morning and you might (underline MIGHT) even complete it in one day; some of the other fees are waived also, but there is the pilot fee, a whopping $2,250.
Clearly the days of transiting the Canal for $ 500 are gone for good !
Latest Panama Canal Report - Alternative
Just read your above report of Panama Canal transit costs. I think it could mislead having just transited ourselves two weeks ago. It is the case that the transit is over two days (which we consider a good thing anyway). We had an 11 day wait, which was a 10 day improvement over their initial estimate on the day we were measured.
Although not essential, we used an agent (Stanley) who charged only $300 including lines and tyre hire. Transit charges for a 44́ sailboat were the advertised $600. Total cost $900. No other charges were raised and the agent covered the security
deposit as part of his service
. Many boats transited successfully without an agent for $600.
Hope this gives an alternative and largely positive (except Colon) experience.
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