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Old 08-11-2012, 22:30   #1
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Panama Transit

My son is sailing west coast Mexico heading south intending to transit canal and join me in Tampa. He is a young shoe string sailor with a decent 50 LOA cutter. I am trying to determine the actual procedures and least costs for transiting the canal. I have searched and read every thread on the canal. It is confusing ow can you get thru the canal the cheapest? Is an agent necessary? What are specific instructions? Even $100 is important
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Old 08-11-2012, 22:39   #2
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Are line handlers needed? There are myriads of unknowns for a newbie. Prices quoted have ranged from $1000 to $5000. But if I read the regulations literally it could be as cheap as $300. What is the real scoop? I am talking about for a couple of able bodied ex marines used to livings off of Top Ramen or K rations when needed. Any info is greatly appreciated. Our own forums have mentioned letting the agent's girlfriend spend the night on the boat to reduce costs. If this is part of the game, so be it and we are all in favor with interaction with the local culture and look forward to it. But what is the real deal?
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Old 08-11-2012, 22:48   #3
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Panama Canal TrNsit

Hey fellow Salties
Panama Canal is half way between two oceans and I didn't know where to post my query. Take a look at my postings in Sailor Logs on Panama Canal and please help. Thanks
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Old 09-11-2012, 00:57   #4
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Re: Panama Transit

Shoe string . On a 50 ft boat? How is that done ? lol.

anyhow.. this has all the info you need most likely.
Panama Canal
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Old 09-11-2012, 02:37   #5
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Re: Panama Transit

Some shoes have longer strings than others.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:27   #6
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Re: Panama Transit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokingator View Post
Are line handlers needed? There are myriads of unknowns for a newbie. Prices quoted have ranged from $1000 to $5000. But if I read the regulations literally it could be as cheap as $300. What is the real scoop? I am talking about for a couple of able bodied ex marines used to livings off of Top Ramen or K rations when needed. Any info is greatly appreciated. Our own forums have mentioned letting the agent's girlfriend spend the night on the boat to reduce costs. If this is part of the game, so be it and we are all in favor with interaction with the local culture and look forward to it. But what is the real deal?
Yes, line handlers are required. They will need 4 line handlers and 1 person to man the helm. Line handlers are easy to pick up on the Caribbean side because more boats cross from that direction, and you can almost always get other sailors to act as line handlers just for the fun of the experience. That might not be so easy to do from the Pacific side because there are fewer boats transiting from south to north.

Sorry, can't really help you other than that. We transited from the other direction and used an agent (cheap guy in Colon). The agent provided the four 120-ft lines required and plenty of plastic-wrapped tires. Our boat is 53-ft. Cost for us was $1209 in April 2008.

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Old 10-11-2012, 06:44   #7
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Re: Panama Transit

there is sticky thread--and noonsite--both have good info for you.. the boat will be measured by canal officials--the measurements can do it all--if over 50 ft is 350 more than if under 50 ft--i am at the limit, counting bowsprit and mizzen overhang. not certain if admeasuring has a fee....one MUST have rented handlers, lines, fenders and ais.....unless there is an ais on board, and one must be able to travel at 5 kts steady.

fees were just recently raised --- look up the new rates in the panama canal site...
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:20   #8
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Re: Panama Transit

I did the Panama Canal transit from Panama City to Colon two days ago.

My boat is a Catalina 470, which the Canal measured at 51.5 feet (Davits and Anchor are includded in overall lenght).

If your boat is 50 LOA it will probably measure out over fifty feet for Canal Fee purposes. If it has transited the Canal before, then it doesn't have to be measured, regardless of ownership. The boat will already have a Panama Canal Number.

Based on my fees, it will cost you about $1600 for the Canal Fees as of today for a 50 foot plus vessel. He would also have to post a $2500 cash bond, which is released after transit.

That does not include the four required line handlers at $70 per day each and four 125' dock lines at $60 rental.

You also have to feed the Advisor (Pilot) and Line handlers. Many times you can find fellow cruisers who want to do the passage once before they under take the passage themselves. The normally work for food and drink.

You can usually locate tires (Fenders) for free from other boats that have completed the transit, but may have to pay $5 each to get rid of them at a marina.

If his boat doesn't do 8 knots, he can plan a two day transit for provisioning purposes.

In addition, it will also cost him $105 for a Panama "Yacht Visa" per person and $210 for the Panama Cruising Permit.

If he decides to hire Canal Agent they handle all immigration, customs and Canal stuff, including finding lines and line handlers if needed. The nice thing about an Agent is that you do not have to post the $2500 Canal Bond.

Also remember the Panama Canal Authority is an ALL CASH BUSINESS. No Checks and No Credit Cards!

Agents charge by the boat size and amount of crew. Between $400-$600 to handle everything.
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Old 10-11-2012, 18:46   #9
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Thanks fellow Salties. Regarding shoe stringing a 50 LOA, he is 35, saved for years and instead of buying a house, bought a very good boat in good condition and has lived onboard for the last 4 years on the hook off of San Fran. He is very mechanical/electrical and does everything himself. Average costs over last 4 years is $750 per month. Thanks so much for the info. I will start piecing the deal together. I need to know where to go to get an agent. Can this be done ahead of time, or do you just show up in the first marina? I need the details that are not on the official sites. Thanks
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Old 10-11-2012, 19:07   #10
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Re: Panama Transit

a friend of mine recommended finding a taxi cab driver--he said any of them will be ok--and that cab driver will set him up. my friend only did canal 4 times...

unless jeremiasson knows of other options...
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:51   #11
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Re: Panama Transit

Cab Drivers aren't agents, but usually know where to find lines and tires. They are for the do-it-yourselfer's.

If you want and agent... There are a number down here and yes you want to contact them in advance to find out fees and if they handle immigration stuff.

Sorry, I don't have any Agwent recommendations. The Agent we used is a friend and normally only handles large power yachts (Over 65 feet).

The line handlers were Tito (Colon) and his crew (See below)... I would highly recommend them.

The below information is out of the Panama City Cruisers Guide:

Eric Galvez
6676-1376 (prefers to provide full package of services, not just transit assists, works both sides but
prefers the Pacific Side. Listed in the Raines cruising guide “Cruising Ports: Florida to California va Panama”)

Tina McBride
6637-2999 tinamcbride@hotmail.com www.PanamaCanalTransits.com (Tina’s webpage also
gives helpful info about making a canal transit.)

Enrique Plummer
– 228-5794 or 674-3086 eplummer10@hotmail.com info@panamacanalyacht.com
(Enrique is based out of Balboa on the Panama City side of the canal.)

Peter Stevens
, Delfino Maritimo, 261-3977 or 261-1931 or 6735-7356 delfinomaritime@hotmail.com (Usually
handles boats 65 feet or longer.)

Roger (Rogelio)
6717-6745
Former dock master at the Panama Canal Yacht Club, taxi driver since the demise and destruction of PCYC; can
also help with canal transits. (Roger is also listed in this guide under “Taxis”)

Stanley Scott
447-0065 or 6680-7971
Stanley provides many services including immigration, cruising permits, zarpes, canal transits, and taxi service
to/from the International Airport (Tocumen PTY) in Panama City. He works on both sides of the canal and also
in Portobello and Linton.

For Lines, Line Handlers or Tires only:

Tito
(Colon) 6463-5009
The Colon Tito is a taxi driver located on the Colon side. He can help obtain lines, line handlers, etc. for canal
transits. During cruising season 2011, some cruisers had issues with this Tito providing promised paperwork.

Tito
(Balboa Yacht Club) 6499-2054
The Tito at BYC handles the workshop and rails at the Balboa Yacht Club. He can provide lines and line
handlers for a canal transit.

Crew 4U
Les & Lea, 6798 0588 email: panchites@yahoo.com

See also
Gente de Mar under “Chandleries” and Taxi Tony under “Taxis
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:34   #12
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Re: Panama Transit

One other tidbit to note. If he gets assigned a man named Ernesto Cooper as his adviser please tell you son to NOT serve Mr. Cooper any chicken. If served chicken in any form, Mr. Cooper will call for a catered meal for which your son will pay dearly. That catered meal cost $250 in 2008.

Judy
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:34   #13
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Re: Panama Transit

Try noonsite

Then click Panama

first line under FACTS

click the word ( here)

you will find your answers

good luck !!!!!
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:13   #14
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Re: Panama Transit

Quote:
Originally Posted by svBeBe View Post
One other tidbit to note. If he gets assigned a man named Ernesto Cooper as his adviser please tell you son to NOT serve Mr. Cooper any chicken. If served chicken in any form, Mr. Cooper will call for a catered meal for which your son will pay dearly. That catered meal cost $250 in 2008.

Judy
Judy brings up a good point....

The Panama Canal is a unique place... It is the only place in the World were the Pilot (Boats over 65 feet) have operational control of the vessel. It is also one of the few places that use Advisors for boats under 65 feet.

The Advisors are not required to be licensed mariners and DO NOT have any operational or navigational authority over the vessel. Frequently they are moon lighting from other jobs within the ACP.


Advisors are there to advise the vessel's Captain on the Canal Procedures and comunicate with the Canal Authorites, via Panama Canal radio.


Most advisors are very good, but a few are a pain in the ass and feel they are more important than they are.




If you serve food the Advisors or Pilots can't or won't eat, they have the option of calling for a box lunch... The lunch is $25, but the crew boat to bring it out is $185 for a grand total of $210 for one lunch, which will be deducted from your deposit.

This seldom happens, but it is a possiblilty.

To avoid this, it is a good idea as soon as the Advisor or Pilot boards the boat to give them the menu for the day and ask if they have any special needs or objections to the menu.

If they do have a problem with the menu, you have a couple of hours to change it to something else or make something special for them to avoid the fees associated with a box lunch.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:06   #15
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Re: Panama Transit

Judy, thanks I didn't know that the difference in south/north traffic existed, this is very interesting. I wonder where all those boats are going and not coming back?

Zeehag. Great info. If I remember, the boat is 53 and can be broken down to 48 and it makes 5 under power. It will not make 8.

Tom, two days, that's about as recent as it gets and great info.

SVBeBe, I had heard something like that but did not understand how it worked and this is not clear at all on the sites. Thanks very much.

Do you guys think that people are looking to rip off boat owners or are they just trying to do good honest business? In other words, how cautious do you have to be?
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