Panama canal procedures

Going through the Panama canal is quite a complicated procedure. First every boat needs 4 lines 125 feet long and as many tires as possible (as fenders). Then 4 linehandlers have to be on each boat (usually fellow cruisers) + the skipper. Our linehandlers from “Zenna” and “Tagtraeumer” will arrive tomorrow in the afternoon at Club Nautico. We’ll then go over to the Flats anchorage, where an “advisor” from the canal authority will come on board. We’ll then proceed to the Gatun locks, where the boat will be lifted up going through 3 locks in a row. Yachts go with big ships into the lock, they can either tie up to the wall (risky in the violent current and eddies), tie to a tug (quite a hazzle) or go “center lock” (either alone tied up in the middle of the lock with four lines, or in a packet with another yacht). We’ve chosen the last version and will be going with another yacht center lock.

We’ll arrive in the Gatun lake at night, spend a night anchoring there and then at 6 o’clock in the morning another advisor will come aboard (hopefully on time). We’ll rush full speed over the lake (about 4 hours), descend through another set of locks (Miraflores) down to the Pacific. If you’re interested you can take a look at us through the webcams at Miraflores (around noon here, late afternoon in Central Europe) at


Sounds simple? Let’s hope everything works out fine!!!

1 comment

  1. Roswitha says:

    good luck!
    i hope everything will run well!

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