FAQ

Göta kanal
Sometimes you may have questions about your journey along the Göta Canal. We’ve collected the most frequently asked questions here.

Hours

When is the Göta Canal open?
The Göta Canal is open in May to September. Read more here!

Do I need to book in advance to travel the Göta Canal?
Peak season: No.
Pre-order season: Yes. You must book your canal journey at least 5 days before your departure date. Read more here!

When do the locks open and close?
During the peak season, they locks open at 9 AM and close at 6 PM.
During the pre-order season, you and other boats travel with a set itinerary with special opening hours.

How long does it take?
During the height of the peak season, from late June to the beginning of August, you should count on 6–7 days for the entire Göta Canal, Mem–Sjötorp. If you continue on through Sweden to Gothenburg and the west coast, count on about 3 more days for Lake Vänern and the Trollhätte Canal. During the pre-order season, you and other boats travel with a set itinerary, 5 or 3 days.

Bridge opening hours

At what times do bridges open?
Most bridges open continuously according to boat traffic on the canal.
Road bridges with special opening hours:
Töreboda and Karlsborg.
Open every whole and half hour during the canal’s peak season, except noon, 1 PM and 4 PM on weekdays. The last bridge opening is at 6 PM.
The E22 bridge in Söderköping
Opens every whole and half hour during the peak season. On Fridays and Sundays the bridge only opens at whole hours between 3 and 6 PM.
This also applies on the Thursday before Midsummer. The last bridge opening is at 6 PM.

Why isn’t the bridge opening?
Most bridges are remote-controlled and the lock keeper must be able to see you on camera. In some cases we are not allowed to open the bridge because of emergency vehicles. It is important to position yourself right at the bridge to show that you want to pass.

If you are at a lay-by or quay, the lock keeper will assume you’re in no hurry with the bridge opening.

Why do I have to wait such a long time at the bridge?
If several remote-controlled bridges are controlled from the same place, there may be a certain wait. For safety reasons, the lock keeper can only open one bridge at a time.

Why do I have to wait at a railway bridge?
Rail traffic has priority. The lock keeper must phone the Swedish Transport Administration to switch on power for the bridge opening every time. This means that boats must wait until there is a suitable gap between trains for a bridge opening.

Note: Be prepared to pass through the open bridge quickly!

Maximum boat dimensions
How big can my boat be to travel the Göta Canal?
The maximum boat dimensions are: Length 30 m, width 7 m, depth 2.82 m, height 22 m.

Note: The length of the boat includes its bathing platform, bowsprit, dinghy and anything else that may add to the overall length.

How high a mast can I have?
The maximum height is 22 meters. There may be overhanging branches in some places. Note that the maximum sail height refers to the middle of the canal.

What is included in the price?
All this is included in your Göta Canal journey:

  • 5 days per marina along your route (Peak Season)
  • Full guest service (toilet, shower, laundry room)
  • Electricity at the marina
  • Drinking water
  • Septic tank or slop sink waste disposal
  • A round-trip ticket also serves as a season pass for an unlimited number of trips on the purchased stretch with the same boat and skipper.

Lockage

I’ve never operated locks before, what do I need to know?
Before you begin your canal holiday, it’s good to read up on lockage on our website. It also includes videos. Read about the equipment you need, such as fenders and lines.

When you begin your canal journey, the lock keeper at the first lock will give you tips and advice so you can feel secure. At any time on your canal journey you can ask our lock keepers if there’s anything more you need to know.

Can I ask the lock keeper for assistance in lockage?
The lock keeper’s job is to manage lockage and make sure it is safe for all boats in the lock. The lock keeper also gives tips and advice if you have questions about lockage. However, the boaters must manage their own vessel and lines during lockage. You need to be at least two people, one on board and one on land to handle the lines.

What kind of equipment do I need for lockage?
It’s important to have enough fenders, which you must hang on both sides of the boat.
Make sure to have some low fenders that touch the water’s surface as well as some higher up to protect you from scraping.
You also need a stern line of 8–10 metres and a bow line of about 12 metres.

How many people are needed for lockage?
You need to be at least two people, one on board and one on land to handle the lines.

Waiting times

I’ve been waiting at the bridge for at least 15 minutes and it’s not opening.

  1. If several remote-controlled bridges are controlled from the same place, there may be a certain wait.
    For safety reasons, the lock keeper can only open one bridge at a time.
  2. Most bridges are remote-controlled and the lock keeper must be able to see you on camera. It is important to position yourself right at the bridge to show that you want to pass.
    If you are at a lay-by or quay, the lock keeper will assume you’re in no hurry with the bridge opening.
    Read more about bridges with fixed opening hours under Bridge opening hours.

Why do I have to wait so long at flights of locks?
This is because lockage goes in one direction through the whole flight of locks before the direction changes.

Why should passenger boats have priority in the locks so that the rest of us have to wait?
All commercial vessels have priority at locks and bridges. This means you may have to wait until they have passed through the lock or bridge.

How can I get information on why I have to wait so long?

  1. Lighted signs at flights of locks and certain bridges indicate the next lockage time or opening time.
  2. Read in the Skippers’ Guide about bridges with special opening times. See also above under Bridge opening times.
  3. Ask your nearest lock keeper.
  4. During office hours (weekdays 9–16) you can phone the Göta Kanalbolag on 0141-20 20 50.

Why do you sometimes close the canal for a few hours to regulate the water? What is that?
It is absolutely critical that the canal has the right water level. We sometimes need to regulate the water level on a given stretch of the canal. The lock keepers will let you know how long it will take.

Marinas

Can I book a slip in the marinas?
No, you can’t book slips in advance.

What does a night in a marina cost?
Your Göta Canal ticket includes all marinas along the purchased stretch, including guest service, electricity, water and more. You don’t have to pay anything more.

Is there electricity?
There are electrical hook-ups in 19 of the Göta Canal’s 21 marinas. Subject to availability.

How many marinas are there along the Göta Canal?
There are 21 marinas along the Göta Canal between Mem and Sjötorp. They are all included along the stretch for which your ticket applies.

Are there pump-out facilities along the Göta Canal?
Nine marinas have pump-out facilities; there are also slop sinks. No additional cost.

Where are there diesel and petrol filling stations along the canal?
There are marine service stations with diesel at: Mem, Norsholm, Motala, Karlsborg and Sjötorp.
There are marine service stations with petrol at: Motala and Karlsborg.

Damage

My boat was damaged during my trip. What do I do?
If you have an accident with another boater on the canal, you should resolve the issue amongst yourselves.
Should your vessel incur damage and you wish to claim compensation from the Göta Kanalbolag, immediately contact the nearest lock keeper, who will contact their management. You must remain at the site of the incident and provide your version of the events in writing on a damage report form. All vessels on the Göta Canal must at least have liability insurance.

Pre-order season

Do I have to book my canal journey in advance during the pre-order season?
Yes, all trips during the pre-order season must be booked in advance, at least 5 days before your departure date. Do this on our website, www.gotakanal.se. You pay for your ticket online at the same time.

How far in advance do I have to book my canal journey?
You must book and pay for your canal journey at least 5 days before your departure date.

Can I pay at the lock when I arrive?
No you can’t pay at the lock.
You must book and pay for your canal journey on our website at least 5 days before your departure date.

What is Göta Canal Express?
It is a 3-day rapid transport through the Göta Canal, Mem–Sjötorp.
You can only purchase this during the pre-order season.

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