How to Transit the Panama Canal with Sailing LaVagabonde ‘s Line Handlers by Yacht-S1E11

See how to transit the Panama Canal in a small sailboat or yacht. This video puts you in the cockpit for each one of the six locks in the Gatun, Pedro Miguel, and Mira Flores locks of the Panama Canal. It shows you all the secrets of a successful Panama Canal transit.

You can skip ahead to the parts you want to see:
0:25 Shelter Bay Marina, Colon, Panama
0:28 Panama Canal agent
0:40 Line rental and fenders
0:50 Provisioning, groceries, and meals for line handlers at Rey Supermarket at the Quatros Altos Mall in Colon, Panama
1:15 Name painting tradition for Panama Canal transiting boats visiting Shelter Bay Marina in Colon, Panama
1:30 Our line handlers Jose & Pedro from Sailing La Vagabonde
1:50 Our line handler Pedro form Sailing La Vagabonde
1:58 Number of line handles needed = 4
2:04 Port of Cristobal
2:10 Flats Anchorage, Colon, Panama, Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean
3:10 Our line handlers watch themselves on Sailing La Vagabonde Episode 35 & 36 at

3:48 Sophie gives art advice
5:10 Three options for transiting the Panama canal: 1. Tug Tied, 2. Rafted to Another Yacht, or 3. Wall Tied
5:00 Gatun locks
5:20 Rafting to another yacht
5:33 Monkey fist throw
5:45 Do all your line handlers need to be experienced?
6:25 Rafted in the center
6:55 Adjusting the lines when rising in the locks
7:00 Costs of transiting the Panama Canal
7:30 Walking the monkey fist
8:00 Do smaller boats need to use their engines when rafted?
9:05 Winching Panama Canal lines
10:34 Lock #3 of 3 of the Gatun Locks
10:50 Mooring v. anchoring in Gatun Lake
11:10 How to moor to moorings made for ships in Gatun Lake
11:35 Our second Panama Canal advisor on day 2
11:50 You need a galley slave on your Panama Canal Transit!
13:40 Pedro Miguel Lock
13:50 Rafting to a sidewall tied ferry
14:33 Are Panama Canal advisors helpful?
15:14 Currents created by ships in the locks
15:55 Last in first out (LIFO) rafting
16:30 Mira Flores lock 1 of 2
17:00 Discussion of the new Panama Canal locks launched in 2016
17:08 Covering solar panels to prevent damage
18:25 Mira Flores Lock #2 of 2
18:46 Unrafting
19:03 Exiting the Panama Canal in the Pacific Yacht Club
19:29 Port of Balboa, Panama
19:38 Balboa Yacht Club, Panama City
20:00 Moorings and dinghy ban in the Balboa Yacht Club
21:00 Plans to sail to Ecuador!
21:05 More Panama Canal tips
21:15 Benefits of supporting the channel at
22:50 Bonus episodes, free audiobooks, drawing to sail with us, the Star/Executive Producer reward is awesome!
23:48 What is the most important thing to do when visiting Panama by sailboat or yacht?
25:00 Should you use volunteer or professional line handlers?
26:20 Insurance issues
27:00 How long does it take to get a Panama Canal transit date?
27:30 Agent or no Panama Canal agent? Which is better?
29:15 How to select a reputable Panama Canal agent?

This is episode 11 of Slow Boat Sailing’s round the world vlog series. You can watch this and past and future episodes at

Episode 12 will take the Slow Boat offshore to Ecuador and across the equator. Episode 10 in Panama and New Orleans will not be released to the public until June or July 2017. Patrons of the YouTube channel will get to see episode 10 three months earlier than the public.
Music by

Story, video, and editing by Linus Wilson (c) 2017
Associate Producer, Anders Colbenson

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