Panama Canal Transit Spring 2012 – Reports from Cruisers

Published 12 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Posted 18 April 2012

Comment from John DeLong

We are in Shelter Bay and starting a canal transit. We transited with another boat earlier without using an agent. We are not using an agent and the process is particularly straightforward.

1.) call at Admeasurers office and leave a copy of boat registration and arrange for a time to be measured

2.) fill out the forms provided by the measurer and pay the fees at Citibank in Colon

3.) call to get your time slot and show up with lines and fenders (lines and fenders are available from local taxi drivers for approx $3/tire wrapped in plastic and $15 per 125′ line). Line handlers are generally available at the marina from among interested/helpful cruisers.

This is well set out in the Bauhaus Guide to Panama and on the Canal website.

Hope this is helpful.

Posted 15 March 2012

Comment from James Joll, who transited the Panama Canal 9 March 2012

We crossed Atlantic to Pacific on the 9th March. While 8 knts gets mentioned it was pretty casual as to what was really required. I don’t think anyone should worry too much. We did manage 8, and our pilot said it was the fastest he had done by a couple of hours.

For a 42 footer, or 12.5m catamaran, we paid Transit $500, Inspection $54, Security Fee $55, Agency Fee $350.

Total £959.

Which in hindsight seems very reasonable.

The trip itself was enjoyable and our advisor could not have been nicer.

The biggest hassle was getting checked in. After cruising Europe (i.e. Greece) for two years, Panama was by far the most difficult and expensive check-in. In Colon, you need two stamps in the passport before Immigration will even deal with you. The Port Captain is away from Immigration and the Marina. Immigration is located in an unmarked office upstairs in muggers paradise! I think the Immigration fee was $107. Cruising permits $193.

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