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Old 09-11-2015, 12:41   #1
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longarm livin's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 4
Hi all!

Hi all,
My girlfriend and I are traveling to Panama in early February and looking for a willing boat to sail us from Colon to Bocas Del Toro.
Any info on how to best find a charter or a private boat looking for some extra cash would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 09-11-2015, 12:55   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Jax, FL
Boat: 48' steel cutter
Posts: 291
Re: Hi all!

Why Colon to Bocas? My suggestion is to volunteer as line handlers on a Canal transit, and have one of the greatest experiences of your lives. Each yacht going through the Canal needs the Pilot (Panamanian), skipper of the boat, and 4 line handlers. Usually, the yacht will hire one Panamanian who will bring 4 lines which meet the requirements, but that usually means the yacht will still need a couple of line handlers if they are short of crew.

I'd fly to Panama City and volunteer at the Balboa YC to be a volunteer line handler. I've done 3 transits, one as volunteer line handler (to get experience) and twice as skipper. Transiting the canal is one of the greatest "bucket list" experiences you will ever attain. In my case, each time we moored overnight on Gatun Lake and went swimming in fresh water. (I know, crocodiles and rules. Still, we did it, and I don't regret it!) And it's even more fun on somebody else's boat: less stress!

Panama is awesome, you will love it. Fly to Panama City and transit to Colon as a free line handler. Somewhere along the way, (probably your first day or three hanging out at the Balboa YC!), you also will find your ride to Bocas, and maybe find a paying crew opportunity. Even if you don't, if you transit the canal on a yacht, you will have had one of the greatest experiences of your lives, I promise you!

(That's my home-made 48' steel cutter next to the tug. You can watch the canal operations in real time via streaming web cams. That picture is a screen cap of a Canal camera.)


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Old 09-11-2015, 19:41   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Saskatoon, Canada & Eastern Caribbean
Boat: Lagoon 420
Posts: 386
Re: Hi all!

Welcome to CF longarm livin!

I'd suggest you go to Shelter Bay Marina and check in with some boats there. They have a bulletin board you could post on and leave your contact info.

Best of Luck.
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Old 14-11-2015, 09:56   #4
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Re: Hi all!

Thanks Travis and Kraft,
We've posted on the marina board so with luck we'll find a ride.
As much as we'd love to volunteer through the canal at this point we just don't have the time and are only away for 10 days.
Really looking forward to spending some quality time exploring the bocas area via land and sea!

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