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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
We are looking at a power boat that is in located lake Huron 75 ft. LOA 17.4 clearance ( mast can fold down reducing that by 6~7 ft. approximately) and max draft 5.5 ft.
Is such a passage feasible? Any input on routes; weather ; best time of year to start tips on safety; would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Ioannis
 

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Yes, no problem.

There are two main routes depending on your final destination.

Northern Atlantic (Canada, Maine etc) you can go out through the St Lawrence Seaway.

Points more south can be reached via the New York State Canals, often from Oswego New York to the Hudson River.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your response. If things materialize we would opt for the southerly route as we eventually want to reach the FL and the Caribean.
 

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You have several options and variations. From Lake Huron, you can go to Georgian Bay and take the Trent-Severn waterway to Lake Ontario. You could also go south and take the St Clair/Detroit rivers to Lake Erie. From Lake Erie you could get to Lake Ontario via the Welland canal portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway and enter the Erie canal aka New York Canal System at Oswego, or from Lake Erie you can enter the Erie canal at Buffalo and bypass Lake Ontario. The Welland canal is fast (11 hours) but primarily commercial traffic and pleasure boats have to comply with many restrictions so that that you don't interfere with commercial traffic which can cause delays, the Erie canal is primarily pleasure boats, but slower.
 

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Given your destination, you could also take the inland route. From Lake Huron to Lake Michigan, and south from Chicago. Look up info on the Great Loop.
 

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About 20 years ago I was mate on a sailing boat from Muskegon, Lake Michigan to Nova Scotia.
68 feet long and IIRC 7 feet draft.
The mast was huge but I've forgotten how high (I went up it numerous times but am a bit over that stuff now!)

We went by St Lawrence Seaway running 24 hours per day with a crew of 6, mainly motoring.
It was a quick and easy run.

And a beautiful passage! Great scenery.

If I was heading to the Caribbean I would do that: Straight out and straight down.
Preferred times are going to be the earliest possible time to bare the cold in the great lakes. March/April? Must be before June. November too if the wx is OK in the north.
Once outside the Gulf Stream it warms up considerably and each day is warmer.
Ours was early spring.

Not a problem to do it all (virtually) non-stop. If you do stop don't head west on the US east coast, you need all the easting you can get, so your last stop should be before leaving the St Lawrence, or Sydney, Nova Scotia.
I spose its all range dependant after Sydney. Bermuda is 900nms and St Maarten in the Caribbean is 1,700nms.

Mark
 

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If you do the St Lawrence Seaway route, which I agree is a very pretty trip there is a great short cut through Nova Scotia called the Canso Canal. Saves you the trip around Cape Breton which can be rough, the Northumberland straight (between New Brunswick/Nova Scotia/PEI), is a nice, protected route with great scenery.

 

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Also highly recommend the St. Lawrence route. We sailed down a few years ago, but went to Newfoundland instead of rounding south. As usual, we took as long as possible to do the trip, so I think it took us a few weeks. We stopped every night (anchored almost all the time). So much to see, I'd hate to rush through, but that's the way I like to travel.

For GL departure, it's pretty hard to get moving before May. June is more typical. March is still winter, and winter is real up there. Water will still be hard in some areas. And I don't think the Seaway locks are open to recreational boaters that early -- make sure to check.
 

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Everything you need to know about taking a pleasure craft through the St Lawrence Seaway, including the Welland Canal, can be found in this guide book, which is created by the Seaway https://greatlakes-seaway.com/en/recreational-boating/pleasure-craft-guide/

There aren't really a lot of restrictions on pleasure craft. Mostly common sense; no sailing in the locks, you need a motor, no towing your dinghy, minimum displacement 900 kg, minimum length 20 ft, you need a couple of crew for down bound transits, follow the posted speed limit, monitor your vhf etc.

I would (and have) taken the Welland Canal over the Erie canal in any boat much bigger than a canoe ⛵

@MarkofSeaLife I have done it in May, Even April and as late as December. It's usually ice free by the end of April, and that's really the only thing slowing down a fibreglass boat.
 

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This year the Seaway opened on March 22. Once those big ships start passing through, any lingering ice is smashed to smithereens pretty quickly.

 

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Looking at the L.Ontario to Montreal info for 2021, it lists:
Lockage Schedule for Pleasure Craft:
Pre-opening weekend:May 14 – 16

Arcb, can recreational boaters go through earlier?

There's also limited transits (Downbound Transits are available on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) and you have to pre-register now. This is a relatively recent change since Covid times I think. When I went down a few years ago you just had to show up.
 

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Mike,

I beleive those restrictions were Covid related. Ontario Marinas and boat launches weren't even open last May due to Covid.

As far as I know, in normal years, there aren't many additional restrictions on pleasure craft.

*We were canoe sailing on the Seaway in mid May this year, shorts and T shirts, kids were in swimming, this is between Iroquois and Eisenhower Locks.
Water Boat Plant Boats and boating--Equipment and supplies Watercraft
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
As I am at sea It has been some days since i have checked the forum. All I can say is a big thanks for all to ALL of you that responded with so much useful information. I will be checking every time I am with in range for any additional information.
Again my sincere thanks.

Ioannis
 
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