Book Your Transit
You must book your Panama Canal transit at least 96 hours in advance, so you can be entered into the Electronic Data Collection System (EDCS). You need to provide the information as listed in the formon the ACP 4405 Transit Request, or here.
Note that the form 4405-I was updated in April of 2017 and now requests a little more information, including your last ten ports.
It can be done online, via email, or at the Admeasurer Office at Balboa or Cristobal.
- Big ships will register in the system and do it themselves
- The Admeasurer office has computer systems available
- You can email the information as below
When you call the ACP they might tell you that you have to come into the office in person, but if you request being able to provide everything via email they often oblige.
Note that use of an agent is optional.
Information required for EDCS
You need to fill out the form ACP 4405 Transit Request which requires the following information:
- First Visit: yes/no
- SIN (Ship Identification Number) – If you already have one from a previous transit
- Vessel Name
- Email Address
- Speed – see below
- Type of Small Craft
- Length Overall (in meters)
- Extreme Breadth (in meters)
- Hull Color
The Speed Question
You will be asked what speed you can comfortably make to cover the 27.7nm between Gatun and Pedro Miguel Locks. The ACP would like you to go as fast as possible but they don’t want you to break down!
If your engine does fail and you delay your exit from the Canal, you could lose your buffer deposit or face other charges for a tow or other assistance.
You are not permitted to use sails in Canal waters. This stems from a situation where a yacht lost control and ran in front of a big ship.
Passengers or Crew List Information (not including linehandlers)
- Last Name
- First Name
- ID Type (Passport,Seaman Licence, Other)
- ID Number
You can fill out the form and take a picture or scan, then send it on email with your yacht registration documents.
- Southbound – Cristobal : email@example.com (507)443-2298
- Northbound – Balboa : firstname.lastname@example.org (507)272-4571
To get to the Colon ACP Office
The office is in the white tower at the end of the commercial quay. Go to the Cristobal commercial port – gates with a big sign reading PANAMA PORT COMPANY. Tell the guard that you want to go to the ACP for a canal transit. He will ask to see your passport and fill in the entry log.
As with most commercial ports nowadays, you are not allowed to walk around. The guard will tell you where to wait for the free bus that will take you to the ACP building. The Canal Admeasurer’s office (507 443 2293) is on the second floor.
You will fill out the form and they will give you any relevant instructions.
Notes About the Data Office
- Call the data office soon after sending the form to ensure it was received and the information is complete. There have been cases where the office couldn’t find the form when the call was made a day or two later.
- It has happened that the data office told a yacht Captain that the Admeasurer would gather all the required information while measuring the boat, and the ACP would input details into the EDCS system
- The Data office might tell you that you have to wait some time before you can get an Admeasurer out, but if you call the Admeasurer office they might say differently