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Lachine Canal National Historic Site

Lockage in Progress at Chambly Canal National Historic Site Lockage in Progress at Chambly Canal National Historic Site
© Parks Canada

Lockage and Navigation

Locking Through Safely


Historic canals trace the exploration, defence, commerce, and transportation routes that helped shape Canada. Today, they lend themselves to a variety of water- and land-based activities that are enhanced by the surrounding natural beauty and rich heritage. Historic canals are managed by Parks Canada.

To Contact the Lock Operators

You can also contact canal staff by VHF radiotelephone on channel 68 during operating hours. It is recommended that you tune into this frequency while you travel through a canal.

The canal’s staff can also be contacted during operating hours in boating season at the following phone numbers:

Carillon Canal: 450-537-3534
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal: 514-457-5546
Lachine Canal: 514-595-6594
Saint-Ours Canal: 450-785-2212
Chambly Canal: Chambly Area
450-658-4381
Secteur de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
450-348-3392

Locking Through Safely

The procedures and safety precautions to take when locking through are presented below.

Approaching a Canal
  • When approaching and when inside a canal, reduce your speed until you eliminate your wake.
  • Keep the canal entrance clear so you don’t hinder the passage of boats exiting.
  • Contact the lock/bridge operators by VHF radio or telephone to inform them of your position and your intention to be locked through, find out the wait time, and obtain locking-through instructions.
  • Moor your vessel at the holding wharf. The blue line painted on mooring wharves and the two letters “A” mark the boundary for boats waiting for the next lockage. This zone is reserved strictly for them.
  • Install your mooring lines and fenders on the wharf side inside the lock. You must have a minimum of two mooring lines of sufficient length and in good condition, one in front and one in back. Your floating fenders must be securely fastened, the correct size, and of sufficient quantity that neither your vessel nor the canal is damaged.
*At the Chambly canal, there is no wharf inside the lock. Lock operators will inform you of the side on which to moor and will give you mooring lines.
  • Ensure that you have at least one person capable of doing the work required for each mooring line. Note that you will be refused entrance to the canal if you are alone aboard the vessel.
  • Watch the traffic lights and enter the lock only when the light is green:
Traffic Lights


Solid Red = No operations or locking through in progress
Flashing Red = Locking through being prepared for you
Green = You may enter the lock

  • Follow the lock operators’ instructions. Vessels are locked through on a “first come, first served” basis. However, priority may be given to a specific vessel for logistical or safety reasons, in particular to place it alongside another one when there is lots of traffic. Be attentive to the lock operators’ instructions.
You are under the care of lock operators. Be polite to them. Verbal abuse will not be tolerated.

Into the Lock

  • Once the navigation light is green, enter the lock following the instructions of the lock operators.
  • Dock your watercraft in the area indicated by the lock operators, either along the wharf or beside another boat.
  • Immobilize your craft by putting it in reverse.
  • Switch off the engine only after the craft is securely moored.
Note that it is the responsibility of pleasure craft operators to ensure that their vessels are properly docked and moored. Staff may provide assistance when you arrive, if they are available.

At the Saint-Ours, Lachine, Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue and Carillon canals, ensure that your craft is securely tied to the wharf. Tie up the back first by taking up all the slack, then tie up the front.

At the Chambly canal, do not attach mooring lines to your cleats. Loop the line around the cleat, making sure to lighten or loosen it during the lockage process.

Once your craft is well-moored, follow these instructions:

No Open Flasmes on Board No Open Flasmes on Board
Turn Off the Engine Turn Off the Engine
No Smoking No Smoking
Bilge Blower On Bilge Blower On
  • Turn off your radar.
  • During the lockage, each mooring line must be tended by a crew member.
  • At the Chambly canal, use a boat hook to distance yourself from the lock wall. Do not use your feet or your hands.
  • To simplify the work of lock operators, and out of respect for other boaters, please lower the volume on your sound system or radio during the lockage.
  • Be ready to pay or show your locking permit to lock staff.
  • When you navigate through the Chambly and the Lachine canals, always report your arrival at locks and bridges. Keep staff abreast of your navigation plans. If you decide to make a stop or change course, inform the lock/bridge operators so they can adjust their operations.

Exiting the Lock

  • Wait until the lock gates are fully open and lock staff give you the signal to start the engine and unhook your moorings. There are no traffic lights inside the locks.
  • Exit the lock slowly, in the order given by the lock operators. If boats are side by side in the lock, they must exit width-wise, from the wall to the wharf.
  • Respect the 10 km/h (6 mph, 5.5 knots) speed limit and watch your wake until reaching the lateral buoys at the canal channel exit. On the Chambly and Lachine canals, the speed limit is 10 km/h at all times.

Moorage and Locking Permit

  • A locking permit is required to travel through a canal. Permits are sold online and at all lock stations once inside the lock.
  • The same applies to mooring permits. When you dock at a wall or wharf adjacent to a lock between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., you must pay for mooring at the lock station or while travelling through the lock. Double-moored vessels must also pay. The maximum mooring period is 48 hours. You must wait at least 24 hours before returning to moor in the same lock. Note that this regulation is subject to change, based on management recommendations.
  • All vessels, even those being towed, must obtain a locking and mooring permit, regardless of their size, with the minimum rate applying to 12-foot vessels.
  • To be valid, seasonal locking and mooring permits must be installed in full view on the front side of the lower edge of the vessel’s windshield.
  • If you have a sixday locking permit, you must have it with you while travelling, otherwise locking fees will apply.
  • Keep your receipts in a safe place, as proof of purchase.
  • Lockingand mooring permits are not interchangeable or refundable. They are valid only for the year in which they are issued.
  • Mooring payment notices can be paid at any lock station during canal operating hours. You can also pay by cheque, payable to the Receiver General of Canada, sent to:

    Parks Canada Agency,
    1899 De Périgny Blvd.,
    Chambly (Quebec) J3L 4C3

For more information on permits and rates, visit the www.parkscanada.gc.ca or consult the brochure entitled Parks Canada Historic Canals in Quebec - Fees and Schedules, available at all lock stations during the navigation season.


Historic Canal Regulations

It is the responsibility of pleasure boat operators to be informed of and familiar with the regulations in effect in historic canals. Certain activities are prohibited in a canal. Users must demonstrate judgment and civic-mindedness on Parks Canada sites at all times.

The following list of regulations is not exhaustive. In particular, you are not allowed to:

  • cause excessive noise in a historic canal between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. (section 7 (c)).
  • fish within 10 m of a lock or approach wharf, or from a bridge over a navigation channel (section 7 (e)).
  • dive, jump, scuba-dive, swim or bathe in a navigation channel or within 40 m of a lock gate or a dam (section 10 (b)).
  • water-ski or engage in any activity that involves being towed behind a vessel in a navigation channel (section 10 (a)).
  • moor at an approach wharf during operating hours if you do not intend to lock through (section 40.2).
  • camp on historic canal lands, except at boater campgrounds clearly identified for that purpose (section 18).
  • Domestic animals must, at all times, be restrained by a leash or confined in an enclosure. You must pick up your animal’s excrement and properly dispose of it in a receptacle (section 24).
  • Every boat equipped with a motor other than a stock (unmodified) outboard engine must have a muffler and use it while operating within five nautical miles (9.26 km) of shore (subsection 1000 (3) (d), Small Vessels Regulations). Thus, you must have your muffler in operation (silent choice) when you are in a historic canal.
  • Piloting a motor craft while under the influence of alcohol is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Drinking and driving (whether on land or water) is against the law and could lead to the loss of your driver’s licence.

Historic Canals Regulations, Small Vessels Regulations and Collision Regulations are in force in all historic canals. These regulations are enforced by the Sûreté du Québec, the RCMP, municipal police, and their nautical units.

In the case of a repeated offence or refusal to obey the regulations in place, Parks Canada reserves the right to revoke, at any time, a permit or to forbid travel on the historic canals (section 6).

Speed Limit

Speed Limit is 10 km/h

The maximum speed limit is 10 km/h (6 mph, 5.5 knots) while travelling through a canal. You must slow down when you reach the red and green buoys at the canal’s entrance; you can speed up after you pass the same-coloured buoys at the canal’s exit.

No wake

Wake limits must also be respected and take precedence over the speed limit. When you see a “no wake” sign, you must reduce your speed until your wake is completely eliminated.

The wake from boats causes major problems on Canada’s waterways:

  • eroding banks
  • disturbing wetland habitats
  • flooding the nests of aquatic birds
  • damaging piers and moored boats
  • damaging lock mechanisms
  • making navigation dangerous
  • threatening lives
Never forget that you are responsible for your wake and any damage it may cause.

More References

Other laws and regulations are in force on historic canals:

  • Act Respecting the Ministère des Transports
  • Canada Shipping Act
  • Parks Canada Agency Act
  • Criminal Code of Canada
  • Canadian Environmental Protection Act

These documents may be consulted at: http://lois.justice.gc.ca

Seasonal Lockage and Mooring Permits available online: http://parkscanada.gc.ca/ekiosk

Parks Canada Historic Canals of Quebec

450-658-0681 or 1-888-773-8888