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Skipper41 10-10-2018 04:57 PM

Cruising the Trent Severn Waterway
We are thinking of traveling the length of the Port Severn Waterway next summer. We have a 32' Nordic Tug so I think we have a good boat for the trip. I would be interested in the experiences of captains who have made this trip. How long did it take? Was it enjoyable? Costs? What advice would you give. Thanks in advance.

Don Albanese

LaBomba 10-10-2018 07:45 PM

Skipper41, there are dozens of articles, books, websites and YouTube dedicated to the Trent Severn Waterway. If you are going both ways ie to Georgian Bay then returning, you will definitely need a seasonal pass and likely a seasonal mooring pass. Rates for these are posted but likely about 500 USD for both. So far as time , that is totally an individual thing depending on your site seeing as well as weather. 6 to 7 days each way would be minimum with little time for anything but travel. 2 to 3 weeks each way would be much more enjoyable. We just brought a boat back from the finger lakes in upper NY state and it took us 9 days to get to Lake Simcoe, which is most of the way up the TSW. Beautiful trip, lots of locks some days but you definitely have a good boat for it.

boatpoker 10-10-2018 08:27 PM

A lot more to see and do on the NY State Canal System and everything including fuel is much less expensive .... free docks everywhere, free or $2 pump outs. $30 for a pump out on the Trent Severn and not a free dock anywhere.

Comodave 10-10-2018 08:29 PM

It is wonderful. We did it 2 years ago and canít wait to do it again but next time more slowly.

Maerin 10-10-2018 08:35 PM

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We did the Trent Severn in our 43' Selene in 2017. You'll find more information on our blog, start here. It's a wonderful trip, we'd do it again if we could get our draft down to 4 ft! At 5 ft, it's dicey in several sections, even though the controlling depth is purported to be 6 ft. We banged the bottom a few times out past Kirkfield, and the bottom isn't sand or mud like it is over here on the east coast, it's GRANITE!

We had the advantage of exceptionally high water levels on the way west, but the water levels returned to more normal levels (about 9" lower) so even skinnier!

Despite the anxious moments with the depth, the trip was one of the best. The pace is relaxed, the towns are wonderful, the people friendly, and the scenery spectacular.

We did a return trip retracing our steps, if you're ambitious, you can return down through Lake Erie and the Welland or the western section of the NY Canals. We encountered a number of loopers who blow through the Trent-Severn and miss a lot of it, it can be more than just a part of the loop trip, but the season is short and there's plenty of distance to cover, so there's a choice to be made regarding itinerary.

Your platform will be great for the Trent. Take advantage of the mooring permit, it's a good deal. The year we went, the lock fees were waived for the 150th, and the NY Canals fees were also waived, so we got a real bargain! We made a lot of stops at the locks, the parks are delightful, the staff always friendly, and locking is very low-stress.


RT Firefly 10-10-2018 08:44 PM

Mr. 41. We did the TS waterway many moons ago over the period of a month (up and back from Trenton). As mentioned, well worth the effort and time spent while being enjoyed at a leisurely pace.

Bacchus 10-10-2018 08:48 PM

If you have never travelled Canadian canals you are in for a treat. We did it many yrs ago but only had 4 weeks from NY Finger Lakes to Georgian Bay.
Now retired and planning a return trip in 2019 but plan to take 3 mos and get further North on GB.
It can be done in 1 wk each way but 2-3 would allow time to enjoy it. Lock passes & mooring permits plus fuel costs make it a costly trip but it is worth doing IMO.
Maybe our wakes will cross.
Let me know if plans materialize and you are looking for specific info or would like to try to connect along the way.
The Ports guide for the TS is informative and comprehensive especially for first timers.

Flatswing 10-11-2018 06:33 AM

It is most enjoyable. Especially if you have lots of time. On a tight schedule, u will find the weekend traffic more frustrating. A few things specific to the TSW: most mooring walls at the locks do not have power for your boat, but leave the restrooms unlocked. You can buy the Parls Canada seasonal passes in advance for a slight discount if you know you are doing an up & back trip. If not, pay by the day and keep your receipts -separately for lock passage and overnight mooring. If you reach the seasonal total for either, the lock mastesr will trade your receipts for the seasonal pass. So apart from the convenience of the decal, no need to buy up front.


jleonard 10-11-2018 06:59 AM

We did that cruise in 2012 from Ct. Spent the entire summer poking along the NY canals and the Trent Severn at our leisure. Many days we didn't move. Got up into the North channel for a couple of weeks then turned around and came back to Ct for winter storage.
Mid June thru mid September.
Take your time and enjoy.

Seevee 10-11-2018 08:59 AM

We finished the Trent in August of this year. Absolutely great and would do it again.

Yes, it can get busy on weekends, especially around the "rental houseboat area" Buckhorn, Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls however they are wonderful areas. Lots of great areas before and after the locks, close to small towns, shops, restaurants,

Lock masters are great and easy to get thru. Prices already mentioned, but not bad.

Some things more, some less. Alcohol and fuel are pricey. Exchange rate is excellent and restaurants reasonable.

Overall, the absolute highlights of my loop trip have included the Trent Severn, Georgian Bay, North Channel and the Erie Canal. I'd repeat any of them.

Still need to do the Tom Bigbee down to Mobile and along the coast over to St. Pete.

Shrew 10-11-2018 03:53 PM

Moved thread from "General Discussion" to "Cruising and Events - Interior Waters".

CapeWhaler 10-24-2018 02:47 PM

TSW Maintenance
Good info. Looking at doing the TSW late next spring moving our boat from Lake Michigan to New England waters. I know it's likely available in the cruise guides, on-line, etc., but curious about maintenance facilities along the TSW...just in case. Specifically, has anyone had to have minor or major repair done along the way, and how did that go?
Thanks -

LaBomba 10-24-2018 03:13 PM


Originally Posted by CapeWhaler (Post 709236)
Good info. Looking at doing the TSW late next spring moving our boat from Lake Michigan to New England waters. I know it's likely available in the cruise guides, on-line, etc., but curious about maintenance facilities along the TSW...just in case. Specifically, has anyone had to have minor or major repair done along the way, and how did that go?
Thanks -

CW, there are many major and minor repair facilities along the TSW. As well there are mobile mechanics, electricians and shipwrights that can come to you if necessary. Parts may not always be on hand but overnight courier service can bring in just about anything.

CapeWhaler 10-27-2018 10:06 AM

Good to know. Thanks.

cdsailor 01-31-2019 05:26 PM

Trent-Severn Waterway
We made the trip this summer as part of our trip from Sodus Bay to St. Joseph, Michigan, aboard a new-to-us Albin 36. In short, the TS was one of the best parts of the trip, and I'd love to do it again. We bought a one-way pass and transited from Trenton to Port Severn in just over a week. We moved every day but one, took our time and had fun. The only casualty of the trip was an impeller on the generator, and we managed to source a new one in Bobcaygeon so, yes, parts and help are available along the route. Orillia, as I understand it, has some good maintenance facilities, if I remember correctly.
We documented our trip through FB. If you're on FB, stop by our page and browse through our travels: Like others have said, there is plenty of information out there about the TS - everything from books, articles, webpages, YouTube videos, blogs, etc. You'll love it.

Skipper41 02-01-2019 08:19 PM

Thanks for your encouraging comments. I am reading the Ports Guide to the TSW now. As you say, lots of good information is available.

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