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Panama Canal questions answered

by Erick Galvez 13 Feb 14:59 UTC

Currently Canal operation does not have any intentions to stop working, they never sleep.

The only congestion in the Panama Canal is for Merchant vessels and not for yachts under 125ft as they usually are in tandem with merchant vessels in the locks chamber or by themselve rafted.

See Panama canal backlog daily projection for merchant vessels. Maybe this is the confusion they are having.

Yachts will only have a backlog if there are high arrivals, which is not the case this year.

Before during the month of February, after the ARC rally arrival and transit, congestion was between 4-10 days for non-rally yachts.

Canal Authorities have announced inspection Monday through Friday only as of February 4th, 2021 plus additional documents to be submitted with anticipation to program a canal inspection and currently suspended inspection at Flamenco Marina in the Pacific side, now it has to be done in the anchorage in the Pacific side.

We have submitted a letter of reconsideration due that we have encounter with bad weather, low freeboard of sailing yachts, high altitude of canal launch and avoid the confection of boarding facilities on deck of a yacht which is an inconvenience to sailors and entering a marina will avoid the obstacle that we may find on a daily basis.

See a Canal boarding facility as per canal regulations so you may have a view of things we have to do sometimes in the Pacific side to comply with canal authorities.

We personally have a 60% decrease in customers going through the canal this 2021 vs 2019.

There are yacht transiting but estimate about 25 per month in the last couple of months.

Which means that the current waiting for a transit date is 2-3 days after a canal inspection.

The current process that we must follow upon arrival of a yacht to the marina or anchorage is to make a quick Antigen test with a local Laboratory and results will be obtained in three hours.

Once we have the results we can then request the canal admeasurement, make the charge by credit card and we may request a transit date soonest possible or a fixed date.

We have been under a semi lock down in the city (Panama City) during weekends and night hours only to lower the numbers infected of Christmas high level.

Currently it has decreased 70% (500-800 per day now). Airports, ports and borders remain open. San Blas and Pacific Island are open

As of February 8th will reopen: Restaurants, car wash, shoe stores. Restaurants will close at 1930 hours (alcohol beverages will be restricted). Beaches and rivers from 0700 to 1700 hrs (no alcohol beverages). No more gender restriction.

As of February 15th will reopen: Spa, sport fishing, local lottery, horse racing (no fans), museums, art academies, music, galeries.

As of February 20th: No more lockdown on Saturdays in the Panama City Province and Panama West province therefore business will stay open.

Curfew will remain Monday to Saturday from 2100 hrs to 0400 hrs.

Sundays full lockdown.

As of February 22nd will reopen: Gyms, casinos, and movie theaters

As of March 1st: No more lockdown on Sundays. Curfew will remain Mondays to Sundays from 2100 hrs to 0400 hrs.


Schools and Universities will remain (from home), sport fields, bars, pubs, concerts, carnaval(cancelled), conferences.

All incoming crew members/guests via Panama Airport (Tocumen International Airport-PTY) will require to arrive Panama with a round trip ticket, have a Negative Covid-19 test (PCR or Antigen test) 48 hours or less prior arriving in Panama.

All crewmembers arriving Panama on board yachts are required to get an Antigen test done on board prior they are authorized to go ashore or disembark.

Please be guided accordingly

For more links please go to -

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