ERIE CANAL UP­DATE

Cruising World - - Underway - — Wally Mo­ran

The New York Canal Sys­tem, through which many southbound cruisers pass ev­ery sea­son, has an­nounced it will close its reg­u­lar op­er­a­tions more than a month ear­lier this fall, on Oc­to­ber 11.

Canal rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jef­frey Grit­sav­age and Steve Gos­set say the new clo­sure re­flects the pe­riod of high­est use for the canal, and that very few boats pass through be­tween that time and the usual mid-novem­ber clos­ing date. Grit­sav­age says, “Our new par­ent agency an­a­lyzed traf­fic, and it is too low to fully staff the canal past that date.”

How­ever, cruisers wish­ing or need­ing to pass through af­ter Oc­to­ber 11 can pur­chase a com­mer­cial pass for $325, which will per­mit pas­sage. Grit­sav­age and Gos­set in­di­cate that the canal author­ity would, if there were enough de­mand, con­sider a group pur­chase where sev­eral boats mov­ing to­gether could travel un­der one pass, thus sav­ing them money. The com­mer­cial pass al­lows for a 12-hour day through the sys­tem, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Oswego sec­tion of the sys­tem will be sub­ject to a “hard” clos­ing on Novem­ber 1 this year, as Lock 07 re­quires re­hab­bing. Any ves­sels re­quir­ing pas­sage via this sec­tion need to be past Lock 07 by that date.

Those with con­cerns about this is­sue or in­ter­ested in a group com­mer­cial pass for their tran­sit can go on­line at canals.ny.gov/wwwapps/about/con­tact/ in­dex.aspx and com­ment there.

Ac­cord­ing to its web­site, the 525-mile canal sys­tem com­prises the Erie Canal, run­ning from Lake Erie to Al­bany; the Oswego Canal, which opens into Lake On­tario; the Cayuga-seneca Canal lead­ing to the Fin­ger Lakes; and the Cham­plain Canal, which runs south from Lake Cham­plain.

Al­though more pop­u­lar with power cruisers, the Erie Canal can be trav­eled by sail­boats, pro­vided sailors take the rig down (above) due to the many low bridges, such as this one in Fair­port, New York (top).

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