Opening of the 2018 Navigation Season and Maximum Allowable Drafts
The opening of the 2018 navigation season is scheduled to take place on the following dates
• Welland Canal: March 29, 2018 – 0800 hours (D.S.T.)
• Montreal / Lake Ontario Section: March 29, 2018 – 0800 hours (D.S.T.)
Vessel transits will be subject to weather and ice conditions. Restrictions may apply in some
areas until lighted navigation aids have been installed.
Sault Ste. Marie Locks and Canals
Opening of the Sault Ste. Marie Locks (U.S.A.) is currently scheduled for March 25, 2018. Please
note the Notice to Navigation Interests released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for further
In the Montreal / Lake Ontario Section, the maximum allowable draft will be 80.0 dm (26′ 3″)
until the South Shore Canal is ice-free or April 15th, whichever occurs first, at which time, if
water levels are favorable, the maximum draft will be increased to 80.8 dm (26′ 6″) for all
Mariners are reminded that for ships loaded to a draft greater than 80.0 dm (26′ 3″), speeds
will be monitored carefully between St. Lambert Lock and St. Nicolas Island.
In the Welland Canal, a maximum allowable draft of 80.8 dm (26′ 6″) will be in effect from the
start of the navigation season for all vessels.
Please note that, for vessels loaded to a draft greater than 80.0 dm (26′ 3″), speeds will be
monitored carefully between the upper entrance to Lock 7 and former Bridge 12 in order to
reduce bank erosion in this area.
Vessels equipped with an approved and operational draft information system will be permitted
to transit at a draft of up to 7cm above the maximum allowable draft.
There will be zero tolerance for vessels to transit at drafts in excess of those specified in this