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Old 01-08-2015, 10:53 AM   #1
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Question Panama Canal Fee Going Up

Interesting story. I was wondering if recreational boaters/Yachts would see a rise and how would it be determined. Can't seem to get a reply. Will the fee be based on berths?

Panama Canal Unveils New Toll Structure Proposal - gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News


So I send gCaptain an email:

Hi Thomas,

Good question... I would assume passenger berths, but the statement did not specify. It referred questions and more info to http://www.pancanal.com/.

Regards,

Mike


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On Wed, Jan 7, 2015 at 8:53 AM, Teseniar,Thomas A wrote:

Hi Mike,

Love gCaptain.

Interesting article on the fees for the Panama Canal. Although not a big money maker for the ACP what, if any will be the cost for recreational boaters, such as the cruising community for yachts say 50-100 ft? Based on berths?

Thanks for your time.

Thomas Teseniar

A "Veteran" whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve, is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check payable to "The United States of America" for an amount of "up to, and including his/her life." That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact.
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Old 01-08-2015, 11:52 AM   #2
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... Although not a big money maker for the ACP...
Recreational boats our size (less than 100') pretty much cost the ACP money for every transit and that does not include damage claims against the ACP. An advisor we met said that in 2010, the ACP paid our more in claims than they collected from recreational boats. I have no way of checking this but for the time we spent in Panama we saw first hand, several vessel that were damaged going through the canal.

The ACP would love to not have to deal with recreational boats but so far, because of the lack of alternatives and history, they put up with us.

When we took Hobo through in 2011, we centered locked and were one of 3 boats in the lock. They didn't make any money that day.

Current rates are $800 to 50', $1,300 for 50' to 80' and $2000 for 80'-100'.
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:05 PM   #3
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Thumbs up

Larry:

I'm currently reading "The Path Between the Seas" by David McCullough-- an interesting history on the construction of the Panama Canal. Just got through the chapters about France's attempt to dig a sea level canal. Craziness.

Did you record your passage through canal on a blog perhaps? I would like to read about that if you did. I seriously doubt I'll ever do that trip, so maybe I can live vicariously through Hobo's travels. Cheaper that way...

Can you tell me how damages to recreational boats usually occur? Operator errors? Locks not built for small boats?

Thanks,
Bill
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:51 PM   #4
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Larry:

I'm currently reading "The Path Between the Seas" by David McCullough-- an interesting history on the construction of the Panama Canal. Just got through the chapters about France's attempt to dig a sea level canal. Craziness.

Did you record your passage through canal on a blog perhaps? I would like to read about that if you did. I seriously doubt I'll ever do that trip, so maybe I can live vicariously through Hobo's travels. Cheaper that way...

Can you tell me how damages to recreational boats usually occur? Operator errors? Locks not built for small boats?

Thanks,
Bill
That's a great book!

Here's a friend's blog who went through the canal with us.
SV J Georgia: A Hobo Canal Transit

This is a typical accident. A few days before we went thru, a catamaran was towed to the anchorage where Hobo was anchored and here's their story.

The tow in from Lake Gatun and through the 3 down locks cost $4,000. Before the Canal would pick them up they needed to put up a $5,000 cash deposit. Something that isn't easy when your ATM will only dispense $500 a day. So why did they need a tow? It was due to an ugly lock up. They were in the third up lock at the Gatun Locks. A tug was tied to the wall, then the Cat tied to the tug and monohull tied to the Cat. Close ahead was freighter. When the freighter started to move out of the lock, they gave it close to full power. One of the crew on the Cat was filming when he saw a massive turbulence headed his way. When the big ships turn their props in the lock, they are so close to the back of the lock and take up so much of the side of the lock that there isn't anywhere for the water to go. The wave essentially folded the monohull under the Cats outer hull. Then the 3/4 inch bow and stern lines on the Cat parted. Then the line from the monohull to the tug went under the aft end of the Cat and took out both of the Cats saildrives. Ouch! The Advisor had already called for an All-Stop in the locks, but the damage was done. The monohull went on to slam into the opposite side lock wall.

If you damage your boat and it's your fault, you pay. The ACP even collects a damage deposit from you. In the case of the Cat, they had a hearing but we were gone before we heard the outcome.
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Old 01-08-2015, 01:03 PM   #5
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That's a great book!

Here's a friend's blog who went through the canal with us.
SV J Georgia: A Hobo Canal Transit

This is a typical accident. A few days before we went thru, a catamaran was towed to the anchorage where Hobo was anchored and here's their story.

The tow in from Lake Gatun and through the 3 down locks cost $4,000. Before the Canal would pick them up they needed to put up a $5,000 cash deposit. Something that isn't easy when your ATM will only dispense $500 a day. So why did they need a tow? It was due to an ugly lock up. They were in the third up lock at the Gatun Locks. A tug was tied to the wall, then the Cat tied to the tug and monohull tied to the Cat. Close ahead was freighter. When the freighter started to move out of the lock, they gave it close to full power. One of the crew on the Cat was filming when he saw a massive turbulence headed his way. When the big ships turn their props in the lock, they are so close to the back of the lock and take up so much of the side of the lock that there isn't anywhere for the water to go. The wave essentially folded the monohull under the Cats outer hull. Then the 3/4 inch bow and stern lines on the Cat parted. Then the line from the monohull to the tug went under the aft end of the Cat and took out both of the Cats saildrives. Ouch! The Advisor had already called for an All-Stop in the locks, but the damage was done. The monohull went on to slam into the opposite side lock wall.

If you damage your boat and it's your fault, you pay. The ACP even collects a damage deposit from you. In the case of the Cat, they had a hearing but we were gone before we heard the outcome.
Holy sh@t! That's crazy. Guess I'm staying on the East Coast!
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:09 PM   #6
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The current average tolls are <50 ft. $500, 50-80 ft. $750, 80-100 ft. $1000 and over 100 ft., $1500.

Under the proposal, the minimum toll will be <50 ft. $800, 50-80 ft. $1300, 80-100 ft. $2000 and over 100 ft. $3200.

On the other hand it really only hits small passenger vessels one time as most don't transit but once or twice. It's the bulk carriers who will be impacted more.
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:23 PM   #7
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The current average tolls are <50 ft. $500, 50-80 ft. $750, 80-100 ft. $1000 and over 100 ft., $1500.

Under the proposal, the minimum toll will be <50 ft. $800, 50-80 ft. $1300, 80-100 ft. $2000 and over 100 ft. $3200.

On the other hand it really only hits small passenger vessels one time as most don't transit but once or twice. It's the bulk carriers who will be impacted more.
I think your proposed rates have been in effect 2012. Still a bargain. Here are procedures and costs for vessels less than 125'

https://www.pancanal.com/common/mari...ENG-201211.pdf
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:36 PM   #8
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I think your proposed rates have been in effect 2012. Still a bargain. Here are procedures and costs for vessels less than 125'

https://www.pancanal.com/common/mari...ENG-201211.pdf
I think you're right. Not sure why pancanal.com had those as proposed. We're about a month away from our crossing and are using an agent.

Whatever it is, we're going to pay. Not going the Cape Horn route to get home...lol.

I'm distracted seeing if the Panthers can possibly upset the Seahawks. And watching one Seahawk hurdling the entire line trying to block punts.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:25 PM   #9
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No worries the Seahawks dominated. Good scoop about staying clear as possible of the big ship props.
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:53 AM   #10
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I think you're right. Not sure why pancanal.com had those as proposed. We're about a month away from our crossing and are using an agent.
Are you using Tina McBride as your agent by chance?
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Old 01-11-2015, 08:48 AM   #11
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...Good scoop about staying clear as possible of the big ship props.
If you share a lock with a big boat, you're only behind him on the way up. When locking down, you're in front. Here's how it's suppose to go. Still a certain amount of "pucker" factor though.
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Old 01-11-2015, 09:26 AM   #12
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I've locked through 4 times and we were behind ships both going up and down.

Here's an idea of the turbulence in the locks just from the normal water flow.


http://vid50.photobucket.com/albums/...itVideos10.mp4
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:10 AM   #13
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I've locked through 4 times and we were behind ships both going up and down.

Here's an idea of the turbulence in the locks just from the normal water flow...
Who knows, maybe they've changed their procedures.

And your right about the normal water flow. Going down is easy but when there're filling the locks, like in your video, you have to bring in lines, if you're center locked, as the water level rises. More "pucker" factor.
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:39 AM   #14
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Lots of pucker.

I understand you have to hire a local "agent" to guide you through the canal. Are you also required to hire extra line handlers?
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:56 PM   #15
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Are you using Tina McBride as your agent by chance?
No, we are not, although we have heard good things about her. We're using Associated Yacht Services I believe. I'd have to double check. We also heard great recommendations on Roy Bravo with Emmanual Agencies.
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:06 PM   #16
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Lots of pucker.

I understand you have to hire a local "agent" to guide you through the canal. Are you also required to hire extra line handlers?
You are required to have four line handlers. If you've never done the canal you should hire some or you should volunteer to help others through and learn the process.

As to agents, you'll see huge debates. Yes, you can save money without one. But having a reputable agent can make things much smoother. They can arrange so many things including land transportation, marina slips, tires, line handlers. They also can keep up to date and keep you up to date on the ever changing schedules. Last, you don't have to put up the deposit if using an agent. Although it is returned if you don't incur charges, it's at least a couple of weeks and sometimes more.

We figure an agent is a good insurance policy. We could probably do it with no problem, but a good agent makes it less risky. Note, I did say a good agent. Be sure to check that they are a canal approved agent.
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:08 PM   #17
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Lots of pucker.

I understand you have to hire a local "agent" to guide you through the canal. Are you also required to hire extra line handlers?
The agent doesn't guide you though the canal. That is done, depending on your size, by either a canal pilot or canal adviser.

You do not have to hire line handlers if you have four capable people on board and 4 - 125' lines. You can hire line handlers and/or rent lines if need be.

The line handling is pretty straight forward and any reasonably experienced boater should be able to handle the duties.

IMO hiring an agent is money well spent.
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:13 PM   #18
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...I understand you have to hire a local "agent" to guide you through the canal...
Do you mean a transit advisor? You must have an advisor to guide/"advise" you as you go thru the locks on vessels less than 65'. The advisor will also communicate with the controllers, other vessels and locks. The cost of the advisor comes out of your transit fee. Here's our "advisor" getting off Hobo on Lake Gatun

As far as using an agent to coordinate and manage the transit, we did 2 transits with an agent and 2 without. All the transits went well. For all the reasons BandB mentioned plus if you are not spending time in Panama before the transit, I would recommend an agent though.

We were in Panama for 10 months so we had the time make our own arrangements and Lena also speaks Spanish which isn't necessary but helps. We were also line handlers on 2 other boats before we took Hobo thru so we thought we had an idea on what to expect. It did take a couple months to get our deposit back. Here's an invoice from a 40 something foot sailboat boat we took through in 2011 before the rates went up in 2012.
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:21 PM   #19
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:46 PM   #20
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Panama Canal Fee Going Up

"Do you mean a transit advisor? "

Yeah, that's what I was trying to say. The guy on the boat with you. I don't know terminology.

I find these canal transits by pleasure boats fascinating. I'll probably never do one but enjoy reading about it.
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