Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Panama Canal

Panama Canal Authority

I had gleaned as much information about the canal transit as I could. The most useful information was from Cruisers who I knew had transited the canal in 2014. I had been recommended the services of Tito (+507) 6463 5009, email:

The Canal transit (without using an Agent) summary.
  1. Registration of intent to transit the canal using Electronic Data Collection System (EDCS). 
  2. Organise for lines and fenders to be delivered to the boat. 
  3. Book an appointment for the Admeasure to visit the boat. The Admeasurer measures the boat and checks lines and fenders and that the boat is safe to transit the canal.
  4. Pay fees in cash at CitiBank in Colon.
  5. The transit date is scheduled and hopefully a suitable date set.
  6. Prior to the scheduled transit date 4 line handlers turn up. Tito organises all the fenders, lines and linehandlers.
  7. On the way to the canal in the flats anchorage (F) pick up the Advisor (Pilot).
  8. Transit the canal.
  9. Drop line-handlers, lines and fenders off with the taxi boat from Balboa yacht club.
The Canal transit (with an Agent) summary
  1. Pay an agent between two and five hundred dollars to do all the administration leg work.
At this point Sadiqi looks at having a total of 6 people on board. From the North or Caribbean side of the canal yacht transits start in the late afternoon.

Canal web cams show tranits at locks:
Miraflores – High Resolution
Gatun High Resolution.

A note on using Tito's services. 
Tito and his son, Marcus can get extremely busy. He supplies fenders, lines and line handlers to shipping agents. They run on Panama time and will probably not turn up on time. However, they will turn up, they have been doing this service for years. Now that I understand how he operates I would happily use his services again. However, I would only pay his full fee upon successful transit.