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Old 17-05-2012, 11:32   #1
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St Lawrence Seaway Passage

We are going through the St Lawrence later this summer, heading into Lake Ontario, with a 37' sailboat. I have a guide with the distances, but I'm wondering how much time I should give myself to make the trip from Montreal to Kingston, given all the locks. What would be a good schedule for a transit, given that we motor along at 6-7 kts? Also, what should be know about customs/immigration given that it is a combination of Canadian and American waters (we are Canadian)?
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Old 17-05-2012, 14:01   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadamsson
We are going through the St Lawrence later this summer, heading into Lake Ontario, with a 37' sailboat. I have a guide with the distances, but I'm wondering how much time I should give myself to make the trip from Montreal to Kingston, given all the locks. What would be a good schedule for a transit, given that we motor along at 6-7 kts? Also, what should be know about customs/immigration given that it is a combination of Canadian and American waters (we are Canadian)?
Don't know about time table but we had nexus passes for every one on boat and registered boat with nexus, this allows you to phone in to clear on both sides. We flew a Q flag for thirty minutes after docking and no one showed up on either side. Then we were free to leave. We cris crossed between US a d Canada. Highly recommend Nexus on Seaway or Great Lakes. Costs is 50 per person and an hour for an interview. Takes about a month. But you get way less attitude and hassle plus. If you do cross by car, you get that special lane with minimum wait.
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Old 18-05-2012, 07:15   #3
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Re: St Lawrence Seaway Passage

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Don't know about time table but we had nexus passes for every one on boat and registered boat with nexus, this allows you to phone in to clear on both sides. We flew a Q flag for thirty minutes after docking and no one showed up on either side. Then we were free to leave. We cris crossed between US a d Canada. Highly recommend Nexus on Seaway or Great Lakes. Costs is 50 per person and an hour for an interview. Takes about a month. But you get way less attitude and hassle plus. If you do cross by car, you get that special lane with minimum wait.
I wish I had thought of NEXUS earlier. I was just on the website, and they say it will take 6-8 weeks. We'll be making the trip in about one month, so I don't know if it will be processed on time. I'm going to apply anyway because we'll have the boat in the area for the next couple of years, so I suspect we'll want to cross the border somewhat regularly. But, for this trip, we probably won't have the approval yet.
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Old 18-05-2012, 07:34   #4
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Re: St Lawrence Seaway Passage

Hi. have done the Seaway a couple of times no problems. Once you have cleared into canada you no longer need to check in unless you leave and come back. You do not check in at the two US Locks as they are all part of the same system.All going well and without stops other than waiting for the locks about two days from Montreal to Prescott, Brockville. Not much in Prescott but a nice YC in Brockville. Brockville is sort of the Eastern end of the Thousand Islands which are worth spending some time in. If you push strait through from the Iroquoix Locks you should be able to make Kingston in 24 hrs +/-
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Old 18-05-2012, 07:55   #5
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Re: St Lawrence Seaway Passage

IT's generally a two day passage in a sailboat. Locking wait times can be long 2-3 hrs depending on commercial traffic. Upper Canada marina or Iroquois is a nice place to stop, sort of the half way point. Unless you plan to enter the US you don't need to worry abou immigration. If you do want to enter there are US immigration kiosk's along the way. You'll need your passports for everyone onboard.

Coming back into Canada is easy.

Simplified cell phone reporting for private boaters
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Old 18-05-2012, 09:06   #6
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Re: St Lawrence Seaway Passage

Thanks for the suggestions and advice.
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Old 18-05-2012, 17:16   #7
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Re: St Lawrence Seaway Passage

The whole trip can be done in about 3 days if you want to be quick about it, best is to clear the locks and as a Canadian you just cruise through, no problems minimum ID is birth Cert with picture ID (Gov Issued) of some sort. Once you clear the last lock, that's where the adventure begins, we spent 14 days in the 1000 Islands last summer and found we only saw a small portion, with so much to see and do along the way you really could do a month and still miss some of the events.
Have a great time and enjoy the view, its spectacular
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Old 10-04-2017, 17:50   #8
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Re: St Lawrence Seaway Passage

I'm bumping this old thread to see if there's more recent information. No, I haven't yet tried to figure it out using the official resources, sorry, but wondered if someone has recent experience or knowledge.

I may be bringing a boat from Quebec City up the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario. Following the Seaway up I understand that there are a couple of locks in US territory, although most of the route appears to be in Canadian waters.

Is the whole clearance routine, with decal, check in, and so forth required to clear the American locks, or do you get some kind of a free pass if you're just transiting the Seaway?

Thanks for any insight.
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Old 10-04-2017, 19:19   #9
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Re: St Lawrence Seaway Passage

We came down from Kingston and out the Gulf last summer. We left Oswego, called into customs as we approached Kingston and that was the end of it.

Canadian boat, one Canadian citizen, one American.
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Old 10-04-2017, 19:43   #10
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Re: St Lawrence Seaway Passage

Disclosure: I havenít done the route yet, so hopefully those with direct experience will chime in. I am planning to do the reverse, going from Lake Ontario to Newfoundland, this season so Iíve been researching.

My understanding is that you do not have to clear into the US (or Canada) when transiting the seaway locks. I know this for a direct fact using St. Maryís locks and Iím pretty sure about this for all the lower five seaway locks. Of course, if youíre headed for American waters after the locks, then you do have to clear in (or the reverse), but not if youíre just transiting from Canadian waters to Canadian waters.

There are two American locks and five Canadian locks.

Note that pleasure craft are supposed to have at least three crew members on board while going up. Two are the minimum for down-bound.

Hereís the official source for most info needed, including the St. Lawrence Seaway Pleasure Craft Guide, which youíre supposed to carry with you:

Seaway System - Recreational Boating
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Old 10-04-2017, 20:44   #11
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Re: St Lawrence Seaway Passage

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Disclosure: I havenít done the route yet, so hopefully those with direct experience will chime in. I am planning to do the reverse, going from Lake Ontario to Newfoundland, this season so Iíve been researching.



My understanding is that you do not have to clear into the US (or Canada) when transiting the seaway locks. I know this for a direct fact using St. Maryís locks and Iím pretty sure about this for all the lower five seaway locks. Of course, if youíre headed for American waters after the locks, then you do have to clear in (or the reverse), but not if youíre just transiting from Canadian waters to Canadian waters.



There are two American locks and five Canadian locks.



Note that pleasure craft are supposed to have at least three crew members on board while going up. Two are the minimum for down-bound.



Hereís the official source for most info needed, including the St. Lawrence Seaway Pleasure Craft Guide, which youíre supposed to carry with you:



Seaway System - Recreational Boating


Info on the older posts in this thread is inaccurate. You now must have a passport in either direction To stop in Canada you will need to go to a specified check in port, call when you get there and the border folks will come talk to you. Big problems if you don't.

You still need a sticker and to call in advance to US CBP BEFORE entering the US to avoid significant sabre rattling. Don't ask me how I know...
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Old 10-04-2017, 21:11   #12
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Re: St Lawrence Seaway Passage

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Originally Posted by SVTwilight View Post
Info on the older posts in this thread is inaccurate. You now must have a passport in either direction To stop in Canada you will need to go to a specified check in port, call when you get there and the border folks will come talk to you. Big problems if you don't.

You still need a sticker and to call in advance to US CBP BEFORE entering the US to avoid significant sabre rattling. Don't ask me how I know...
If youíre stopping in either country, yes you obvioulsy need to clear in through customs with a passport. But as a Canadian moving up the river from the lower st. Lawrence you could just transit the American locks, going from Canadian waters to Canadian waters. Do Canadians still need to clear customs in these cases? You donít have to clear customs in a similar case on the St. Maryís river (going into/out of Lake Superior).

I can see that having the US cruising decal is likely still necessary.
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Old 10-04-2017, 21:18   #13
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Re: St Lawrence Seaway Passage

It seems to change without notice and also be dependent on the individual law enforcement people that you might encounter. There are distressing stories on this forum of what appear to be minor or no real infraction. I would always error on the side of caution with immigration in either country along this border. I have found the Canadians are, sadly, often trying to be as hard ass as the Americans....
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