Originally Posted by Dave Lochner
Did they specify where the canal was too shallow? The route from Waterford to Three Rivers to Oswego is generally deeper and has a higher bridge clearance.
From Oswego sail to the Welland Canal and then to Lake Erie.
Going up the St Lawrence will have you going against he current and upwind. Timing the current and tides in places will be important.
Here's the depths on the Erie Canal, from the authority https://canals.ny.gov/wwwapps/navinf...ay=eriewestern
Note that depths given are for North, South, and Mid channel. Note that some say 5'. Note also that many are blank. When they drain most of the canal for winter
it's easy to see that the natural channel isn't mid-channel, it weaves like a river. And you can see the shoals. And the shopping
carts, and chunks of concrete. IMHO I'd not do it with 8' draft; it will be a bumpy ride.
My two cents on night navigation
upstream of the Ogdensburg locks:
It is well marked (lit) at night. In fact, it's gorgeous at night. If one stays between the bouys there is more than enough water
In MOST cases, one can stray outside the marked channel and be OK. MOST. There are several markers inside of which there is zero tolerance- virtually zero water
. One marker is commonly cut inside of, I've done it, but I also know a boat that got wrecked there.
In some places (e.g., American Narrows) the channel is VERY narrow. Not really a problem, except that the shipping
pilots vary in skill and attitude, and some may force you to the very edge or beyond.
If I (that means "I" not suggesting anything for anyone else) were to travel the seaway, I'd do it during the day, or a very flat moonlit night. I've done it, but I'd prefer not to.
After breakout from Cape Vincent into the open lake there are a few shoals to avoid, which are of course marked. As an aside, headed downbound into this area using only visual clues at night can be scary, since the lights get washed out by all the noise
pollution. But OP is going up; so the only real concern here is the amount of freighter traffic (which does NOT have pilots at that point) converging fast on a small slot. I've experienced and plenty of friends have reported that "some" of these freighters don't care about your puny sailboat, or navigation
laws. I've seen them without bow lights. They don't answer the radio
. And on and on.
So personally I'd avoid night navigation between Ogdensburg and Cape Vincent. I usually leave CV just before sunup; CV is about 4km from the mouth of the river/ open lake, so by the time I get to the lake there's plenty of space for manouvering.