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Old 01-26-2019, 07:20 PM   #1
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Traveling St. Lawrence Seaway

This summer we plan to take Irish Lady up the Hudson to the Erie Canal, then up to Lake Ontario, then up the St Lawrence though Thousand Islands to Montreal, then down through Lake Champlain and back down the Hudson again. This will be our first international cruise. My first question is how do you handle customs when you are on US/Canadian waters if you want to cross over to the other side?
For example, lets say we are on the NY side at Keewaydin State Park and we want to go over to a fort on the Canadian side. Do you have to go to a customs dock or just a phone call? Each time you cross the line or only when you land? Do you have to call both US and Canada?
Any good cruising guide for the area?
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Old 01-26-2019, 08:34 PM   #2
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You will find a lot of info there
http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/...nal/index.html

I would recommend you to visit thousand islands then go up the Rideau waterway to Ottawa then the Ottawa river down to west Montreal to get back on the st lawrence. The Rideau is really an amazing cruise with plenty of places to discover and far more interesting then straight from thousand island to Montreal.

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Old 01-26-2019, 08:41 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. HW. IMHO, if you go that route, you'll be missing the best part. The Rideau Canal is very often bypassed in favor of the 1000 islands and is a far superior cruising experience, again IMHO.
You mention visiting a "fort" on the Canadian side. I can only speculate that it is Old Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario. WELL worth the trip. Kingston is also the southern terminus of the Rideau Canal and the first locks station in the system (Kingston Mills) is only about 3 miles from the fort.
The other end of the canal is Ottawa through a series of 45 locks AND a quite nice variety of interesting towns and villages. From Ottawa, it's 2 easy days to Montreal which is a short hop to the Richeleau canal and thence the Hudson.
An alternative is head up the Rideau for a couple of lock stations and come back down to continue to the 1000 islands.
We've traveled quite extensively in the 1000 islands and it's OK if you like looking at "old" money. Only a few touristy towns with not too much to recommend them other than the Classic and Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, NY.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rideau_Canal


Edit: Aw snap! Mr. L_t beat me to it.


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Old 01-26-2019, 09:21 PM   #4
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My dear Mr RTF, your description worth far more than 1000 of my words!
I would add that Kingston is a very nice place to stay for 2 days to shop and go out, you will find some very nice pubs and restaurants in the old town just few steps from the confederation basin and supermarket is not far too.
In case you need to refuel, Portmouth marina has good price on diesel and is like 15 minutes from Kingston.
Up the Rideau there are so many nice places that it would be difficult to name all but it really worth it. This year we plan to spend 3 weeks on the Rideau again and I cannot wait for it!

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Old 01-26-2019, 09:34 PM   #5
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Dealing with Canadian customs is a breeze compared to the nonsense Canadians go through while cruising in US waters.

Simply call CANPASS (Canada Customs) 1-888-226-7277 when you land in a canadian port and they will ask the usual (passport, boat documentation/state register etc.). There is a 99.99 percent chance they will give you a clearance number and tell you to have a nice trip. On very rare occassions they may tell you to stay on the boat til' an officer comes to check you out.

The exception to this is if you are carrying firearms, then all bets are off.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:42 PM   #6
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What is a reasonable time period to go from Kingston to Ottawa? 45 locks will take a while, eh? (I'm practicing)
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:51 PM   #7
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What is a reasonable time period to go from Kingston to Ottawa? 45 locks will take a while, eh? (I'm practicing)
I did it in 5 days the first time. It was really nice but within that time frame you do not have much opportunity to visit beyond the locks.
Realistically there is so much to see that you can spend how much time you want. Last time I spent 3 full weeks there and still I have plenty of places to explore.
If the goal is to go through, some places are nicer then others but it depends on what you like or seek for.
As an example, one of the lock, my preferred one, is out from the traditional way but the place where I love to spend time as it is quiet, calm and peaceful and the lock master is really a great guy ( he is living aboard his boat docked at the lock).

Lastly I would add that the entrance in Ottawa via the waterway is just amazing, you transit progressively from nature to the city to end downtown just at the parliament hill, it is really something!


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Old 01-26-2019, 10:03 PM   #8
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Wifey B: In addition to guns being "no no", one that sneaks up on people is any history of DUI.

We like the culture of major cities and none have more than Montreal and Quebec City. Yes, Quebec City is another 140 nm, but it's such an incredible place if you can possibly make it, we'd really encourage you.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:04 PM   #9
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Done it in 4 days on delivery, usually 2 weeks on our own boat.
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:41 AM   #10
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I would recommend you to visit thousand islands then go up the Rideau waterway to Ottawa then the Ottawa river down to west Montreal to get back on the st lawrence. The Rideau is really an amazing cruise with plenty of places to discover and far more interesting then straight from thousand island to Montreal.
Fully agree. I did the trip from Oswego down the US side of the St Lawrence to Alexandria Bay, then entered Canada and cruised the Canadian side back to Kingston and up to Ottawa. I liked the Rideau so much I turned around there and went back to Kingston. It's all worth doing.
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Old 01-27-2019, 06:48 AM   #11
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Good advice so far. We have cruised 1,000 Is & Rideau MANY times.
Don't miss the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton
The castles around Alex Bay are interesting if you have never been.
Our preferred route to Kingston is to cross over to Gananoque and take the North (Bateau) Channel. A little tricky at the very start getting in but it's more protected and scenic trip to Kingston.
You can find some cruising notes on the Bacchus website linked in my signature.
Canadian customs fairly easy just follow what others have said. You don't need to check in if just cruising in Canadian waters unless you drop anchor, fish or tie up to go ashore.
Also the skipper should check in and all passengers remain aboard until cleared. Then post your clearance # in a side window or windshield.
The Rideau is a wonderful cruise best done w 2+ weeks more if you can spend the time.
I have not updated my cruising notes but understand the Opinicon at Chaffeys Lock is not only open but has undergone an impressive renovation.
If you are looking for Anchorage let me know and I can list a few good ones.
The Chambly Canal is a very enjoyable cruise as is Lk Champlain.
The only inconvenience we experienced on the St Lawrence are the big locks. No problem w the locks except the wait can be tedious as recreational boats are low priority and lock masters do not want to converse with them on the radio. I have heard they have instituted a tentative recreational scheduled lock thru usually 1 in the AM and 1 in the PM. Worth checking on internet to confirm times. They indicated these are not guaranteed but best effort made to meet them.
By going the Rideau & Ottawa River route you miss all but one lock above Montreal which is another plus.
Lots to see and do on Lk Champlain... a couple of favorites Deep Bay N of Plattsburg has mooring cans at the state park.
Plattsburg municipal marina walking distance to several museums. Burlington is a great town but be sure to make reservations. Public transportation is plentiful and shopping museums etc very accessible.

I hope you have plenty of time for this loop as there are many many great places to explore. I will bet you will want to return to at least sections of this in the future.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:12 AM   #12
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We did the trip starting from Troy on the Hudson than the Erie, the Oswego crossed Lake Ontario, went to the Thousand Islands then crossed over to Kinston and the Rideau. I think your wasting your time if you do not do the Rideau canal.
It is a beautiful trip and one you want to take your time on. We spent close to three months doing it and we should have taken longer.
I used the customs phone at the mariner in Kingston to check in. It took maybe 2 or 3 minutes only.
Here is a link to my blog.
https://trianglecruise.wordpress.com/blog/
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:44 AM   #13
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Thanks for the responses!
Time frame- We will be leaving CM NJ on July 1, 4th of July in NY harbor, and returning to CM Sept 15. Cruise speed 6.8 kts. That's it as far as a schedule goes. I hope we get to see all at a somewhat relaxed pace.
We have been to Quebec City several times by car, so we won't be going up that way this time.
Question: Is there a season lock pass or something to buy that gives you access to the Rideau Waterway without having to pay every lock?


Oh, no guns on board unless an Olin 12 ga. flare pistol needs to be declared.
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Old 01-27-2019, 10:13 AM   #14
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Thanks for the responses!
Time frame- We will be leaving CM NJ on July 1, 4th of July in NY harbor, and returning to CM Sept 15. Cruise speed 6.8 kts. That's it as far as a schedule goes. I hope we get to see all at a somewhat relaxed pace.
We have been to Quebec City several times by car, so we won't be going up that way this time.
Question: Is there a season lock pass or something to buy that gives you access to the Rideau Waterway without having to pay every lock?


Oh, no guns on board unless an Olin 12 ga. flare pistol needs to be declared.
You have choice to pay by lock or season pass. If you go through in one direction only the one way through pass is at a lower price. It allow you to go through the canal end to end in one direction.
If you plan to stay overnight at the locks dock you will need to pay a fee either daily or seasonal pass. Seasonal dock permit is better if you plan to always stay at the locks dock.
Pricing is based on your LOA (price per foot) not terribly expensive.
Good part when you stay at the locks is that you have facilities (toilets), as well as bbq and dining table.
If you choose to go this route let me know I will indicate you one of the lock where the lockmaster is a really great guy. You can refill your water tanks for free and he even offered us to take his truck to go to the grocery .

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Old 01-27-2019, 10:29 AM   #15
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Check Rideau Waterway website for lock fees there is also a 6 day pass that only counts on days you lock. The one way may be your best option as far as flexibility.
There are a few locks w power available if desired. Elec is a separate fee but only 10$?
Col Bye Is on Big Rideau Lk has an island park w docks and moorings but no power.
Westport is a nice stop w good facilities and supplies a short walk.
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Old 01-27-2019, 10:49 AM   #16
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You might find someting of use in our little blog on Cruising the NY State Canal System.
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:04 AM   #17
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Kingston has perhaps the best bakery in the province, easy walk from the marina.

I'd second Quebec City - it's the only place I've stayed more than 2 days, we spent a week there and could have spent more.

If you bouncing between the US and Canada, it may be worth signing up for one of the customs programs - Nexus, etc. Or investigate the new Customs phone app, this is supposed to do many of the same things. You can enter Canada a lot of places, and usually with just a phone call. Back to the US is often much more difficult - has to be a port of entry, may require a boarding, etc.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:13 PM   #18
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You're in for a great trip, Archie.



We went in 2000 so I won't venture to guess what Customs is like after 9/11. It was very laid back then, a phone call from the dock in Kingston and a visit to the nicest customs official in the world at Rouses Point.



Here is my pitiful website from 2000 with some pictures of the trip:
welcome2


If you have an old browser you might get the captions to pop up. That would explain a lot.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:12 PM   #19
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I envy you. I've done the trip from Oneida Lake to the 1000 Islands many times, and I absolutely love it. I haven't done the Rideau yet, but I will.

There's lots of good advice here. I can't add much, but one thing I can recommend is that you consider stopping for a night or two at Sacketts Harbor, NY. It's a really lovely little town. There's good food, good drink, nice walks to be had, and loads of historical stuff if that's your thing.

Give me a shout when you get to the middle of NY state. You'll be right in my back yard, and I'm cheaper than Uber!
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:41 PM   #20
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I envy you. I've done the trip from Oneida Lake to the 1000 Islands many times, and I absolutely love it. I haven't done the Rideau yet, but I will.

There's lots of good advice here. I can't add much, but one thing I can recommend is that you consider stopping for a night or two at Sacketts Harbor, NY. It's a really lovely little town. There's good food, good drink, nice walks to be had, and loads of historical stuff if that's your thing.

Give me a shout when you get to the middle of NY state. You'll be right in my back yard, and I'm cheaper than Uber!
Wifey B: Sacketts Harbor and that entire area is very nice, peaceful and friendly and so much to see.

Your area is also nice and especially your lake and the chance to go faster for a bit after going so slow in the canal.
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