State canal system slated to begin operations for 2019

ALBANY — The State Canal System is slated to begin operations for the 2019 navigation season this week, following two consecutive years of increased boat traffic.

Tolls have been waived on recreational vessels through 2021 to encourage more boaters to get on the 524-mile system. Last year, the number of trips through canal locks or under lift bridges by motorized vessels–the most common type using he canals–increased 3 percent.

The navigation season will run through Oct. 16.

A portion of the Canal System is slated to open on May 17 at 7 a.m., including the Erie Canal, from Locks E-2 in Waterford to E-8 in Scotia, and from Lock 28A in Lyons to Lock 35 in Lockport, as well as the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.

The Erie Canal from locks E-8 in Scotia to E-22 in Rome, and from Lock E-24 in Baldwinsville to Lock E-27 in Lyons, as well as the Oswego and Champlain canals, will have their openings postponed indefinitely due to high water from heavy rain and snow melt.

Boaters will still be able to access the western end of Oneida Lake from Erie Canal Lock E-23 in Brewerton. The lock typically receives the highest volume of boats during the navigation season.

“Safety is always our top priority on the canals and we need to ensure water conditions do not pose a hazard for boaters as well as for canal employees,” said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corporation director.

“We know people are eager to get out on the water and we’ll make sure that happens as soon as conditions allow.”

Boats intending to travel past Erie Canal Lock E-7 will be allowed to leave Waterford, but are advised services as well as space at private marinas from Waterford to Scotia is limited. Information on marinas is available at http://www.canals.ny.gov/wwwapps/boating/marinas.aspx.

Boaters can sign up for Notices to Mariners to receive real-time updates on canal conditions at http://www.canals.ny.gov/wwwapps/tas/tascanals/index.aspx.