A World-class boating adventure

At 386km in length, the Trent-Severn Waterway is a dream destination for boaters looking to discover some of Canada's finest regions for cruising, fishing, and family fun. The historic lockage system that makes navigation possible has been in operation for over a hundred years and allows boaters to travel from Lake Ontario to Lake Huron, passing through countless communities and natural environments along the way. Endless experiences await boaters along the Trent-Severn Waterway, with new memories, new friends and new places around every bend.


How lockage works

Locks are designed to raise and lower boats from one water level to another. They were built over a hundred years ago, along with a series of dams, to bypass rapids and waterfalls. In some locations, two or more locks are joined together to overcome greater changes in water levels.

  1. If you are heading upstream, the water in the lock chamber begins at the same level as the downstream channel
  2. The lock gates are cranked open with either hand winches or electrical power, and then boats proceed into the lock chamber
  3. Once inside, the lower gates are cranked shut, and the valves in the lower gates are closed; the chamber is now watertight
  4. The lock staff then open the upper sluice valves to allow water to enter from the upstream side
  5. This water gradually fills the lock, raising the boats, until they are at the same level as the upstream water
  6. Finally, the upper gates are opened and you can leave the lock chamber, proceeding slowly (10km/h) and watching out for other boaters and paddlers
  7. If you are heading downstream, things happen in the reverse order

For detailed instructions to boaters on how to transit the locks, please see: Locking through safely.

Boating Safely brochure

Includes: How to lock through; buoys and beacons; speed zones and boat wake restrictions.

Quick facts about boating on the Trent-Severn Waterway:

  • 37 conventional locks, two sets of flight locks, two of the world’s highest hydraulic lift locks, and a marine railway are all part of the trip
  • Boaters embark from many of the communities, marinas, and remote access points along the Waterway
  • Plan a trip of any length, including shorter overnights and simple daytrips on the Trent River, Kawartha Lakes and Lake Simcoe or Severn River
  • Takes just over 7 days (1 week) to complete end-to-end
  • The entire system passes through nine different watersheds

Renting a boat

Many marinas on the Trent-Severn Waterway offer boat rentals, as well as fuel, supplies, showers, repairs, pump-out, and overnight mooring. Check the local listings for the region you are planning to visit.