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.
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.
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.
Sharing Locks and Water Conservation
Due to the continued dry weather Scottish Canals would ask that those on passage conserve water by sharing locks with others.
In particular we would ask that you maintain groups on the flights between locks 5 and 13 so that we may minimise the water drawn from the summit reach.
We may be required to hold single vessels for a short period to make effective use of the lock. Where a single craft “splits” from a group that vessel may also be held for a period to join another locking.
We also request that no boats stop overnight between locks 5 and 8 or between 11 and 13. This enables us to adjust water levels as necessary in the early morning or late at night with minimum disruption to visitors.
We will endeavour not to cause undue delay and hope that your co-operation will help us maintain levels of service throughout the summer period.
Vessels with Deep Draught
Scottish Canals are unable to guarantee passage to vessels with draught over 2.2m. Every effort will be made to accommodate such vessels prior notice is essential but due to limitations in water supply passage may be subject to delay while the levels in the long reaches are built up to ensure a safe passage.
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.
Canal Works & Updates
Check our Canal Works & Updates pages for details of current works along the Crinan Canal.