The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway 2009 navigation season is scheduled to take place on the following dates and times:
• Montreal / Lake Ontario March 31, 2009 - 0800 hours (D.S.T.)
• Welland Canal March 31, 2009 - 0800 hours (D.S.T.)
Vessel transits will be subject to weather and ice conditions. Restrictions may apply in some areas until lighted navigation aids have been installed.
Sault Ste. Marie Locks and Canals United States Soo Locks will open March 25. Allowable Draft
In the Montreal / Lake Ontario Section, the draft will be 26 ft 3 inches until the South Shore Canal is ice-free or April 15th, whichever occurs first, at which time, if water levels are favorable, the draft will be increased to 26 ft 6 inches for all vessels. In addition, there will be zero tolerance for ship's draft in excess of 26 ft 6 inches.
Mariners are reminded that for ships loaded to a draft greater than 26 ft 3 inches, speeds will be monitored carefully between St. Lambert Lock and St. Nicolas Island.
In the Welland Canal, a maximum allowable draft of 26 ft 6 inches will be in effect from the start of the navigation season for all vessels. In addition, there will be zero tolerance for vessel drafts in excess of 26 ft 6 inches.
Please note that, for vessels loaded to a draft greater than 26 ft 3 inches, speeds will be monitored carefully between the upper entrance to Lock 7 and former Bridge 12 in order to reduce bank erosion in this area.