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Old 04-03-2007
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Advice on the locks at Sault St Marie

I will be transiting the locks between Lake Huron and Lake Superior this summer, as well as spending at least a day or so in Sault St. Marie waiting for new crew. I am looking for any advice from those who have transited the locks, as well as marina recommendations. Thanks
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The Roberta Bondar Transient Marina (Sault St. Marie, Ontario) is an excellent facility, located near the heart of the City’s downtown close to shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

See also: Sault Canal - Recreational Lock
North of Superior Marina Guide - Sault Ste. Marie Recreational Lock

Along with the Great Lakes Cruising Club’s “Port Pilot”, Bonnie Dahl’s “Superior Way” is the authorative cruising guide to Lake Superior.
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Thanks for the info. I have been perusing both references. We will probably stay on the American side to avoid the hassles of customs. Any experience with the George Kemp marina?
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I've never been through the locks between Lake Huron and Lake Superior, but I am a weekly user of the locks between Lake Washington and Puget Sound in Seattle. So I thought I'd touch on a few obvious, but important things to remember:

1. Make sure you have enough fuel! Trust me on this.
2. Make sure you have adequate lines, (at least two 60 foot lines with at least 12" eye splices, not hand-tied eyes). Be ready to switch lines quickly from port to starboard, as you will not know which side until you're in the locks. Always present the spliced end to the dock.
3. Listen to the lock workers instructions carefully, they will bark instructions and warnings that you'll need to take heed of.
4. Prior to entering, hang lots of easily adjustable bumpers on both sides.
5. Be prepared for strong currents, when the gates open and close, (upwards of six knots).
6. If you're instructed to raft onto another boat, adjust bumpers accordingly and hand them the eye end of the line, so you are in control of the tie off and then they can easily cast you off when instructed.
7. When casting off to leave the locks, always cast off the bow line first.
8. Kids and pets should not be on deck, as falling overboard in the locks is a really bad thing.


Good luck and have fun!
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Thanks Guesser- great advice.
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I went through a few years ago - nothing to it. Ii went through on Canadian side and you don't have to check in with customs since you're not going ashore. I don't think you want to be in there with the 1000 footers on the US side. Besides you might have to wait several hours on the US because they're unlikley to pump all that water for just your boat.

I assume you're staying on the southern shore. If so, it's 90 miles to the next port (Grand Marais) so be prepared for a fairly long passage.
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Forgot to add. I stayed several days at Kemp Marina, did laundry there and caught up on chores. Was a great facility. Free bicycles.
DNR - Sault Ste. Marie - George Kemp Marina
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Steve- Thanks. We are going fairly early in the season, so I don't expect there will be much of an issue getting a slip, but did you make reservations ahead of time, or just show up?
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Did not make reservations. I was there end of June and many slips available. I'd be surprised if that was an issue.
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