Schedule (as of September 13)

  • Tuesday, September 13 - Normal Operations
  • Wednesday, September 14 - Normal Operations
  • Thursday, September 15 - Normal Operations
  • Friday, September 16 - Normal Operations
  • Saturday, September 17 - Normal Operations
  • Sunday, September 18 - Normal Operations
  • Monday, September 19 - Normal Operations

Vessel Restrictions

Vessels with beams greater than 11.5’ and that are required to “hang” off the back of the cart or with unique hull configurations require the oversight of experienced staff, and these vessels may face delays when experienced staff are on days of rest or away from the site.


Due to staff shortages and therefore a lack of operators with the necessary training to lock through larger vessels, Parks Canada has had to put in place temporary and periodic restrictions based on vessel size or hull configuration. In spite of these restrictions, the Big Chute Marine Railway has remained fully open for operations to all other vessels. These restrictions may continue to be required over weekends for the remainder of the navigation season. Aligning the staff complement this way will allow Parks Canada to try and meet demand at the site and specifically on weekends when traffic is predominantly smaller boats.

We are putting in place measures to train staff and to aid them in the lockage of larger vessels, however this will take time. We understand the inconvenience that this is causing for some boaters and we sincerely appreciate their patience and understanding.

As always, boaters on the Trent-Severn Waterway who are transiting to the Big Chute are encouraged to stay tuned to Twitter @TSWBoaterInfo for the most up-to-date information.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When it comes to the vessel restrictions, is there any limit on the length of the vessel? There is no length restriction provided the vessel has a beam less than 11.5 feet and does not have any requirements to hang off the back of the cart due to weight, unique modifications (such as pod drives), or due to a unique hull shape.
  • How long do you expect these vessel restrictions to be in place? Restrictions may continue to be required over weekends for the remainder of the navigation season. We will advise as soon as possible if there is any change to this schedule.
  • Why are the restrictions in place on weekends? Aligning the staff complement this way will allow Parks Canada to try and meet demand at the site and specifically on weekends when traffic is predominantly smaller boats.
  • Why does it take so long to train staff to operate the Big Chute Marine Railway? Big Chute is the only one of its kind in North America. Its operation is challenging and complex, where many variables need to be considered. Lifting large vessels completely out of the water on a 3-story high rail cart requires multiple experienced staff as well as numerous safety checks and balances. The type of vessel, gravity, water conditions and public safety are just some of the factors that operators must keep in mind - add in multiple hydraulic systems, and you can begin to understand the complexities. We appreciate the public’s patience as we prepare the next generation of lock staff to provide safe and efficient service at this one-of-a-kind site.
  • Can training be completed outside of hours of operation? Vessels that are required to “hang” off the back of the cart or with unique hull configurations require the oversight of experienced staff. Training must be completed in real-time, with real vessels – ranging from small paddlecraft to cruisers to sailboats with large and fixed keels.