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Old 14-01-2020, 18:20   #1
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Panama Canal wait times.

What is the approx wait time if not using an agent in mid-April. I seem to hear almost everyone uses an agent these days but it's not required.
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Old 14-01-2020, 18:33   #2
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Re: Panama Canal wait times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boatguy30 View Post
What is the approx wait time if not using an agent in mid-April. I seem to hear almost everyone uses an agent these days but it's not required.
Using an agent won't change your transit wait time. After you have been measured, you make your payment by cash or a bank wire. On the admeasurers form you can put a requested time, like transit after Apr 3rd. The evening of the day your payment goes in you call the scheduler's office. They will assign a date and time. The schedulers office staff speak excellent English. If you want to go sooner than assigned, then call back each evening and ask if there is any openings or changes to your assigned date. Either way, a few days before your transit call every evening verifying your date and time. Call again the morning of your transit. Handline vessels get rescheduled often.

The actual wait time depends a lot on the time of year, the number of cruising boats waiting, if rallies are scheduled through , direction of transit and the availibility of transit Advisors.
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Old 14-01-2020, 18:36   #3
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Re: Panama Canal wait times.

We transited in March 2019. We did not use an agent. We did make the fee deposit by bank transfer before we even got to Panama (that can take a week or so). We made all transit arrangements online or on the phone, never went to any office for any part of the transit. Boat was measured in the New Flats anchorage outside Shelter Bay.

We could have transited 3 days after measurement (YMMV), as could all the boats that were transiting at the same time. We weren't quite ready, so scheduled in advance for a week after measurement and then went back to Portobelo to chill, returning to the New Flats the day of our transit (the New Flats anchorage isn't that wonderful).

Do note another thread here on CF, the Canal Authority has reduced schedule slots from 32 to 27 per day due to low water in Gatun Lake. Do not know how this will affect handlines. If they try to squeeze two smaller cargo vessels into the locks instead of one small + handlines this could affect wait times.

[edit] when we went through they were scheduling 6 handlines/day southbound (don't know about northbound) in two sets of three for locking.
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