Cruising the Trent Severn Waterway

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Skipper41

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2014
Messages
20
Location
USA
Vessel Name
Annie
Vessel Make
Nordic Tug 32'
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
 
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.
 
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.
 
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It is wonderful. We did it 2 years ago and can’t wait to do it again but next time more slowly.
 
Don,



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.

Enjoy!
 

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Greetings,
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.
 
Don
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.
 
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.

Enjoy!
 
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.
 
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.
 
Moved thread from "General Discussion" to "Cruising and Events - Interior Waters".
 
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 -
 
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.
 
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: https://www.facebook.com/MollyTheTrawler/. 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.
 
Thanks for your encouraging comments. I am reading the Ports Guide to the TSW now. As you say, lots of good information is available.
 
We will be leaving Sturgeon Bay WI sometime early June heading east to the TSW and Erie Canal headed for the Maine Coast........looking for anyone interested in joining the journey!
 
We will be leaving Sturgeon Bay WI sometime early June heading east to the TSW and Erie Canal headed for the Maine Coast........looking for anyone interested in joining the journey!

It is an awesome place to cruise. Take your time and enjoy it. The local people are wonderful.
 
It is an awesome place to cruise. Take your time and enjoy it. The local people are wonderful.

We are definably looking forward to it and being on the boat!
 
It's a wonderful trip! Patience is important and don't do it as a delivery run with a time agenda. I did it last year. There were a few delays because of high water, staffing shortages, and an equipment breakdown. This can happen when you cruise. I ended up a few days behind, but was able to spend more time sightseeing.

Ted
 
If you have the time, consider doing the Rideau Canal also. We liked the Rideau more than the Trent-Severn, but both are idyllic.
 
Have done it several times in my 40 SeaRay. Great trip. All has been said except for a short story. One trip took me 5 days to complete and cost something close to $2,000. Something came up and had to get back quickly. Trucking firm (specializing in hauling boats) hauled it back to Lake Ontario in 2 1/2 hours for $1,200 - all Can. $ with no fuss or muss. Something to consider when thinking about the return trip.
 
If you have the time, consider doing the Rideau Canal also. We liked the Rideau more than the Trent-Severn, but both are idyllic.

Its on our radar. Last year's "get to know you" outings on our new boat has filled us with confidence.

This time last year, we had a ton of work ahead of us in the spring of 2022 to get the boat sea-worthy.

Now that we have one summer under our belt and our boat has performed beautifully and we are much more comfortable with operating her :thumb:, 2023 is going to be a banner year for us.

We have 1000's islands and a short trip (guessing 1/3 of the way up?) the rideau canal in the cards for 2023. Cant wait!!:smitten::smitten:
 
For those cruising TSW or Rideau Ontario Canal Lock and Mooring passes are discounted prior to Mar 31. Worth checking out if you are planning on cruising there this year. They are good for TSW and Rideau so it makes for an economical and enjoyable summer cruise.
 
When we did the Trent-Severn we took almost 4 months round trip from central Connecticut.
Obviously we took our time. It was a great trip.
Enjoy!
 
We did the TSW when we were bringing our last boat home. We were under some time constraints so we didn’t get to enjoy it as much as we would have liked. It would be great to go again with more time.
 
Bugs!

Hi all - I was wondering what the bugs are like in June in the North Channel and the TSW.......black flies, or whatever.......just curious.......the North Woods of Maine can be pretty bad that time of year......so curious about our upcoming trip and what to be ready for.....
Thanks

John
 
Hi all - I was wondering what the bugs are like in June in the North Channel and the TSW.......black flies, or whatever.......just curious.......the North Woods of Maine can be pretty bad that time of year......so curious about our upcoming trip and what to be ready for.....
Thanks

John
Black flies and Mosquitoes will join you at dusk every night, with screens it is very tolerable. we are at the bottom of the Rideau in Historic Kingston, and cruised our Mainship 390 Cartouche on the Canals for years
 
Black flies and Mosquitoes will join you at dusk every night, with screens it is very tolerable. we are at the bottom of the Rideau in Historic Kingston, and cruised our Mainship 390 Cartouche on the Canals for years

Thanks for that info! Doesn't sound too bad......the northern Maine woods can be almost intolerable at time......they almost carry you off!!

Well, we are certainly looking forward to this trip! It's getting close!

Thanks again]


John
 
We experienced mid day swarms of flies a few days / locations in July.
One day when we attempted a walk ashore while anchored out in Regatta Bay we were forced to abandon the walk and head back to the boat.
Not sure what type flies they were but sure they were not the black flies I was familiar with from the NY Adirondacks.
 

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