Monday, September 7, 2015

Locking Through the Erie Canal

Pretty scenery
Since hitting our first (ever) lock in Buffalo, we've been fine-tuning our locking techniques and now I think we've got the hang of it pretty well. Going through a lock is certainly not rocket science, but it did take us going through a couple to figure out what worked best for us.
Going down!
 Heading East on the canal takes you almost 600ft down to see level through 35 (ish) canals, some drop you 6 feet and others drop you 25 feet - although there is a couple locks in the middle that actually raises you up a few feet.
Each lock has a nice reminder of what to do
in case you forgot from the last one
Anyway, as I was saying, getting through the locks is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. We radio the lock to let them know we're coming (and from what direction) and they tell us if we need to wait and what side to tie up to. As you near the lock there is a green or red light that tells you whether to proceed or not as well.

The sides of the locks are lined with rope every 20-30 feet that you grab with a boat hook and hold on to. We like to use gloves with some sort of rubber coating on the fingers/palms while locking as the line gets a slimy, nasty growth on it from sitting in the water...ick. As the water is let out the line just slides through your hands. The boat hook also comes in handy for keeping your boat from getting too close to the wall. One you're at the appropriate water level the gigantic doors at the other end open, you shove off from the wall and you're on your way...usually with a friendly wave to the lock worker.
Heading out of a 25 foot drop...
there's a lot of water behind that door!

Out we go!
You also have to buy a pass to get through the canal, which you'll be asked about on the first lock you come to. If you don't have one, they can get you one. We chose a 10 day pass (they also have 2 day and seasonal passes) which was $37.50 for our boat...not bad! Especially considering all of the lift bridges we had to make it through. We had our very own personal lift bridge operator who would follow us along the canal opening the bridges as we got there. What service huh?!? ;)

1 comment:

  1. That's something we've never done. Thanks for the step by step!