Plan Your Trip

At just nine miles long, the Crinan Canal creates a pathway through the Kintyre Peninsula, amidst truly magnificent scenery.

Due to the continuing dry weather restrictions are place for boats planning to transit the Crinan Canal. Please check our canal works page for full details.

Skipper’s Guide

Our Skipper’s Guides are your complete reference guide to boating on the Scottish Canals. Your guide includes important safety information as well as details of moorings and facilities and can be purchased on arrival (£4.50) or download your free copy of the Skipper’s Guide beforehand.

Transit & Short Term Visitor Licences

All powered craft using the Scottish canals require a licence, and we have a variety of short-term and transit licences available to suit your requirements. Licences are available to purchase at the Sea Locks or Canal Offices. Download the Transit & Short Term Visitor Licences for Leisure Craft to find out more.

Locks & Bridges

The Crinan Canal is 9 miles (14.5km) in length with 15 locks (3 automated) and 7 bridges. Sea locks, Lock 14 and bridges are operated for your convenience by trained staff. Inland locks are self operated which involves pushing lock gates and winding sluices.

Assisted Passage

We recommend you employ an experienced Private Pilot if you are:

  • shorthanded with crew
  • in a rush to transit
  • have never transited the canal before.

Customers are advised to contact either of the Sea Locks in advance for contact details (Crinan Sea Lock -01546 830285 / Ardrishaig Sea Lock – 01546 602458).

Please note that Scottish Canals are not liable for private pilots.

Single-Handed Boaters

We are unable to guarantee assistance to single-handed boaters, so please ensure you have sufficient crew onboard to handle your ropes. Single-handed boaters are likely to experience delays.


  • LOA 26.82m (88ft). Length overall including fenders, bowsprits, davits, tenders, rudders and any other extension fore and/or aft of the boat. This can be reduced by retracting bowsprits.
  • Draught 2.2m (7ft 2in). Boat depth below the waterline. Remember to adjust your draught for freshwater by adding 0.1m per metre of your draught. We advise owners with vessels deeper than 2.2m draught to contact the Canal Office. *Please also see note below regarding sharing locks and water conservation
  • Beam 6.09m (20ft). Width of the boat including fenders.
  • Air Draught 28.95m (95ft). Boat height above waterline.

Operating Hours

The Crinan Canal operates on a seasonal basis:

  • 7 days a week in peak season
  • Monday to Saturday during spring and autumn
  • Monday to Friday during the winter

Inland locks are self-operated and will require crew members ashore. Sea Locks and main road bridges are operated by our staff. Allow 30 minutes for last locking before close down to allow staff to make the flight ready for the evening.

Download the opening times.

The Crinan Canal will be closed over the festive period with the last full day of operations on Monday 24th  December 2018 (08:30 – 15:30) and will reopen on Thursday 3rd January 2019 (08:30 – 15:30). During this closure, special lockings will be available, subject to staff availability, at a cost of £120.00.  Please contact the canal office on 01546 603210 to arrange.

The canal will also be closed between 12th January and 24th February for essential winter works including installing a mooring facility at Bellanoch Bridge, replacing a number of balance beams, inspecting sluice doors on lock gates, repairs of the dams and other general work.

Canal Works & Updates

Check our Canal Works & Updates pages for details of current works along the Crinan Canal.