Changes to Panama Canal Transits for Small Vessels

       The changes affecting vessels transiting the Panama Canal, after 1 June, 1998, resulting from the Amended Proposed Tolls for Small Vessels are still in the process of being developed and implemented. In conversation with officials of the Panama Canal Commission (PCC) a few of the preliminary changes were discussed, and while still subject to change, the following are some of those changes.

  1. The tolls stated in the Press Release are approximate. These are to be general break points and may be a few dollars above or below the stated amounts depending on whether the toll is based on Canal Tonnage or Vessel Length.

  2. The separate admeasurement fee is to be dropped. The admeasurement will be part of the minimum toll.

  3. Failure to start or complete your transit after the PCC personnel are dispatched will still result in a penalty (currently $250).

  4. One of the recommendations made at the Public Hearing was to implement the use of credit cards for payment. The Panama Canal Commission is in the process of providing this method of accepting payment.

  5. The PCC will continue to inspect vessels for equipment / vessel safety compliance and to provide PCC advisors or pilots for all vessels.

  6. Yachts will still be required to have their 4 line handlers as well as the helms person.

        At the moment it appears that there will be few other changes from the current transit system. The PCC is still reviewing the many recommendations provided them at the public hearing and those from other sources. I am told that we should have many of the changes in black & white by the end of next week.

        As the Pedro Miguel Boat Club receives those changes we will post them to this News Flash ! page. All and all the PCC has listened to its canal users and is doing a good job of improving its' service to the small vessel users of the Panama Canal.

Craig Owings
Pedro Miguel Boat Club

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