The first thing you need to understand is that the Welland Canal is a commercial vessel seaway. Pleasure craft are the lowest of the low in priority and as such, you can only transit the Welland in a pleasure craft on a couple days a week. Here are some tips:
- Estimate a minimum of 8 hours at the *very minimum*.
- Stock up on food and water and definitely have your fuel tanks full. Once you start, you cannot stop or exit or turn around. Be warned.
- Even then, if there is a commercial vessel coming through, you will be in a holding pattern outside a lock. For how long? As long as it takes… 5 minutes to 10 hours. Doesn’t matter to them. Welland is open 24 hours and don’t forget once you start, you cannot stop or turn back so be prepared to just get it done.
- If you are going “Downward” on the Welland (Lake Erie to Lake Ontario) then it is comparatively easier than going “Upward” (Lake Ontario to Erie)
In the time lapse video below you can see how we were in a holding pattern at times and even stopped on the wall for the big red vessel to rise up in the locks and pass.
Here is a time lapse video of our boat going through the Welland on May-21-2021