Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site
Cruise some of Canada's finest waters in search of fishing, fun, and family memories. The historic lock system has been operating for more than a century and allows boaters to travel a route stretching from Trenton to Port Severn, passing through countless communities and natural environments along the way.
Services and information
Lockage and navigation
Locking through safely, navigational aids, nautical charts, technical data.
Plan your visit
Lockstations, facilities, hours of operation, passes and permits, fees, weather, real-time boater information
Camping and accommodations
Camping at lockstations, overnight mooring, Oasis, oTENTik, Rustic Cabin.
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.
- If you are heading upstream, the water in the lock chamber begins at the same level as the downstream channel
- The lock gates are cranked open with either hand winches or electrical power, and then boats proceed into the lock chamber
- Once inside, the lower gates are cranked shut, and the valves in the lower gates are closed; the chamber is now watertight
- The lock staff then open the upper sluice valves to allow water to enter from the upstream side
- This water gradually fills the lock, raising the boats, until they are at the same level as the upstream water
- 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
- 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.
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