Helpful information for anyone about to take their yacht through the Panama Canal

Download our PDF with all of this information

A recent testimonial: “Ready for details? They’re all in Mad About Panama’s website and very useful $2.99 ebook. If you read just one guide to prepare, this should be it.

This section of the website is based on our personal experience as linehandlers, and from talking to ACP personnel. We update relevant sections after completing each transit because the Canal and procedures are constantly changing. So, if you intend to transit the Canal, please check our website on a regular basis because the content might change.

Transit Blogs – Read about the experiences of other yachts, and our own experiences as linehandlers

Preparation – Overview of setting up your transit

Book Your Transit – Information the ACP needs

Agents – What they do and some contacts

Admeasurer – Yacht details needed by the ACP

Pay The Fees – Costs involved

Transit Procedure – What happens and when

Lockage Types – Configurations in the Canal

Linehandlers – What they will be doing

ACP Canal Advisors – Their job and looking after them

Equipment – Ropes, fenders and more

What Goes Wrong? – Some things to watch out for

Marinas and Anchorages – Basic information

Shopping – Where you might provision

Getting Around – Public transport and other options

Did You Know? – Some trivia

There are lots of Sights and Scenery as you pass through the Canal. Some are described in this website, but there are a lot more in the Cruise version of the document.

The ACP website has a page with the forms you will need:

  • ACP 4352 – Procedures for Securing a Handline Transit of the Panama Canal
  • ACP 4405 – Necessary Information to Create a Visit for Small Craft
  • ACP 4614 – Admeasurement Clearance and Handline Inspection
  • ACP 4627 – Handline Lockage Request

Cruiser Resource Guide for Panama City (2023)

This comprehensive guide to Panama City can be downloaded, free of charge, from

You must join either the “Southbound” or the “Cruiser’s Network” group. The guide is located in the “Files” section of each group. (“Southbound” is generally a valuable source for info west of Central America)

Here is our link to the 2023 Cruiser Resource Guide.

And if you need linehandlers

Check the Shelter Bay Yacht Club noticeboard.

The FaceBook group “Panama Cruisers” often posts transits happening or people looking to help out.