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Old 14-01-2009, 15:24   #1
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How Much Does the Panama Canal Really Cost

I live in Washington State and plan to sail the Alaskan and BC coast during the summer but am thinking of warmer climes for the winter. After all the assorted fees how much can I expect to pay to get a 30' sail boat through the Panama Canal. When everything is said and done I might do better sticking to the Pacific.
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Old 14-01-2009, 17:18   #2
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I hate saying "Search for other threads" but I just wrote a long and accurate description on another thread:



Sailing Back to Oz


Have fun! Its a wonderful experience



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Old 14-01-2009, 17:37   #3
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Have fun! Its a wonderful experience



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Old 15-01-2009, 09:00   #4
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Wikipedia talks about it, and I think has links to the Panama official site.
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Old 15-01-2009, 09:57   #5
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I have been through the Canal twice.

You won't get much change out of USD1000 when you include all costs

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Old 15-01-2009, 10:33   #6
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I've been through the Canal many times. What I can assure you is.....whatever the cost and politics are today, it will be different when you arrive. It is important to understand that and be prepared for the unexpected. If you get upset over the situation when you arrive, you can only harm yourself.

As Mark so aptly stated, our small boats are a burden to the Canal Authorities. I have heard that they have been considering (for years) putting a barge in service to transport several yachts at one time on a single vessel. It would need to be a private entity that is willing to take all the risk involved and you can bet that the cost of lifting, cradling and launching each vessel would be substantial. At one point, I heard that the barge was actually being built (that was in 2001 that rumor was flying around).

It has also been rumored for years that private yachts will be required to carry private insurance for the transit.

You will hear all kinds of rumors on your way through Mexico. I would pay little attention to any of them because what ever a passing yacht experienced one month ago may change the day before you get there.

If it were me, I'd budget $3000 for the transit and be pleased if it is lower. If you budget $1000, you may be setting yourself up for a huge dissapointment.........JMHO.
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Old 15-01-2009, 16:28   #7
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Canal yacht transport

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Originally Posted by Kanani View Post
I've been through the Canal many times. What I can assure you is.....whatever the cost and politics are today, it will be different when you arrive. It is important to understand that and be prepared for the unexpected. If you get upset over the situation when you arrive, you can only harm yourself.

As Mark so aptly stated, our small boats are a burden to the Canal Authorities. I have heard that they have been considering (for years) putting a barge in service to transport several yachts at one time on a single vessel. It would need to be a private entity that is willing to take all the risk involved and you can bet that the cost of lifting, cradling and launching each vessel would be substantial. At one point, I heard that the barge was actually being built (that was in 2001 that rumor was flying around).

It has also been rumored for years that private yachts will be required to carry private insurance for the transit.

You will hear all kinds of rumors on your way through Mexico. I would pay little attention to any of them because what ever a passing yacht experienced one month ago may change the day before you get there.

If it were me, I'd budget $3000 for the transit and be pleased if it is lower. If you budget $1000, you may be setting yourself up for a huge dissapointment.........JMHO.
Thanks from what I had been able to find out I sort of figured around $3000-4000
There already exists at least one company (Yacht Transport, Boat Transport) that uses something like a floating dry dock to transport yachts, they just don't have Panama Canal routes yet.
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Old 15-01-2009, 16:36   #8
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noonsite.com has good information on this topic.
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Old 22-01-2009, 18:31   #9
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Are the Straits of Magellan an alternative? I've only read of one passage, Joshua Slocum. I wonder if it is a safe (?) alternative. Curious if anyone has any recent info??
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Old 22-01-2009, 19:22   #10
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As a general rule, any route going southabout South America is not a viable alternative. The Straits of Magellan are actually more dangerous than Drake Passage primarily due to the winds being constrained by or spilling into the narrow waterways.

Of course it's interesting that it is likely cheaper to pull into Brownsville/southern Texas and have the boat shipped across to San Diego (or Acapulco for that matter.)
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Old 22-01-2009, 19:25   #11
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Are the Straits of Magellan an alternative? I've
Hi Larry,

I dont see it as an alternative. Thats a destination in itself. And going to the Antartic on the way through.

I reckon its pretty specialised boats that are well fitted out that are going to make that journey fun. (<--- note I said "fun". Its possable to do it without fun!)

We won't do it on this boat: A beneteau 393 2001 version thats pretty basic. But when we get our 'ultimate boat' a new Bene in a few years then that trip is right on the cards.



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Old 23-01-2009, 16:04   #12
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Wolfanzee recons 3000 to 4000 US dollars that seems to be a hell of a lot, When Cacique went through (my boat 27') in the early 90s it was much cheaper, it makes me think seriously about the alternative routes when I go round next time
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Old 23-01-2009, 20:55   #13
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The official Tarriff listed on the Canal web site shows $500 for a boat under 50 feet. See the bottom of page 4 at: http://www.pancanal.com/eng/maritime/tariff/1010-0000.pdf.

We took our 43 foot catamaran through in August and paid our agent $1200. We are still waiting to get our buffer fee back - she is a bit slow cutting the check.
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Old 23-01-2009, 21:47   #14
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The official Tarriff listed on the Canal web site shows $500 for a boat under 50 feet. .
The official tarrif is only one part of the many payments, and only a fraction of the cost for a small slow boat. Don't be deluded to think $500 is all you'll pay.

See my detailed post about the costs on this link: http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f71/sailing-back-to-oz-21524.html

You will also note they say the prices havent changed since 1998!
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Old 24-01-2009, 13:55   #15
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Pacific as a viable option to Atlantic

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Are the Straits of Magellan an alternative? I've only read of one passage, Joshua Slocum. I wonder if it is a safe (?) alternative. Curious if anyone has any recent info??
Larry C


The northwest passage is starting to become a viable alternative and might even be better than going through the Straits of Magellan. The NW passage is open in late summer (last year as early as July) up to October and getting better every year. If I wanted to do it from where I leave I could leave here in the late spring and be in the carribean before the hurricane season ends.
I live at the top of Puget Sound, right on the BC border, so after I figure all of the costs of getting to and through (and back again) the Panama canal it makes a bit more sense to me to sail the Alaska and BC coast in the summer and warmer climes in the Pacific in winter. Basically, the Pacific is my backyard so might as well enjoy what I've got here. The Carribean isn't *that* spectacular, is it.
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