Transiting the Seaway

What You Need to Know

The following checklist will serve to provide a quick orientation of what steps are required to transit the St. Lawrence Seaway.

This list is not exhaustive in nature, and a shipping agent should be consulted to ensure that all of the requirements are fulfilled (please note that inclusion in this list does NOT imply an endorsement by The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation or by the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation).


  1. Review Seaway Handbook
    Part I Condition of Ships (Compliance)
    Part II Information Concerning Pre-Clearance and Security for Fee Payments
    Part III Seaway Navigation
    Part IV Radio Communication
    Part VI Dangerous Cargo
  2. If the vessel in question does not comply with the Seaway Practices & Procedures noted in Part I of the Seaway Handbook, contact The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation to request that a free review of the vessel drawings be performed. The review will determine what (if any) modifications may be required to render the vessel Seaway compliant. This free service is available for all new and existing vessels.
  3. Conduct a review of all Seaway Notices & Notices to Shipping posted for the current navigation season. The provisions found within these notices serve to compliment the requirements found in the Seaway Handbook, and must be adhered to.
  4. Vessels not equipped with landing booms (or vessel’s who do not wish to use their own landing booms) must make arrangements with a service provider for tie-up at approach walls prior to commencing transit of the Seaway.
  5. Vessels must comply with Transport Canada, US Coast Guard and Seaway Ballast Water Regulations.
  6. Vessels must be equipped with an AIS unit that is capable of transmitting and receiving a DGPS signal (for details, refer to the Seaway Handbook).
  7. Every vessel will be stopped prior to its initial transit, for each Seaway navigation season, and subjected to a joint Seaway inspection and ballast water inspection. These inspections are conducted 24/7 and an inspection fee may be applicable (contact an agent for more information, if required).
  8. Vessels must have on board all applicable navigation charts and Canadian and US publications for the intended voyage, prior to entering the Seaway (contact an agent for more information, if required).
  9. Vessels must comply with applicable Seaway draught. Information on Seaway draught can be obtained from applicable notice(s) issued for the current navigation season.
  10. Vessels will be subject to mandatory pilotage (for more information, please consult an agent or the Pilotage Authorities).

Interested in shipping cargo on our system? Please consult for more information.

Seaway Business Development Offices:

[email protected]

  Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (United States)
Rebecca Yackley
Director, Office of Trade and Economic Development
(202) 366-0091

   The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (Canada)
Bruce Hodgson
Director, Market Development
(905) 641-1932