Here are a few answers to the most common questions we hear about renting a boat on the Erie Canal. Please call us if you have additional questions.
Is there a way to connect with a person to discuss this trip?
Yes, our offices are open during typical business hours in the east. Please call us at 315-685-8500.
Is this a good vacation with children?
Yes, there is plenty to see and do along the canal. Over the years, literally 100s of visitors to our boats have brought children of all ages on their journeys. A big highlight for older children is the Zip Lines and Cave Hikes in Lockport. Younger children will love life aboard the boat and there is plenty of space in our boats for games, toys, and fishing gear! We have a few bikes for smaller kids but not many, if you need these types of bikes it is always best to bring your own.
Where can I shower and do laundry?
On board, our boats have full bathrooms with showers and hot water heaters. Admittedly, showing in a boat is not quite the same experience as showering on land... each town has public docks that can be used for short term or overnight dockage. Many of these facilities offer shower facilities and several towns have laundry mats within a short walk or bike from the docks.
How can I pack food for a week?
You really don't need to. You will need food for a day or two but literally, every few hours you will happen through a town or village with grocery, convenience, drug, and liquor stores within a few steps from the canal or at worst an Uber away. We do provide a small refrigerator and a cooler. Also let's not forget that each town has restaurants, diners, pubs, luncheonettes, breweries, and much more. Cooking is always an option but eating out is fun too!
How will I know how to pilot this boat?
Part of your rental is fairly extensive training. While most visitors have some boating experience, others don't. We will train you on how to pilot the boat safely, travel through locks, docking, power hookups etc. Our dock location is only a mile from the closest Lock. So part of our training is on the water and includes actual travel through a Lock. We also provide phone support for questions that arise on the journey.
Are there any fees aside from the rental fees listed on the website?
Not from us. We include everything at that price including your training and the Lock toll pass - yes this is the original toll road and your EZ Pass won't work here! The only extra fee is that most town docks have a nominal overnight fee to cover bathroom usage and power hookups. These fees could range from $7 to $20/night and it really depends on where you tie up if there will even be a fee. But all other fees including GAS for the boat are included in our fee. How is that for easy peasy.
How many people fit on a boat?
We have several layouts. For most of our boats, they are designed for one couple or a family of 4. There are additional places to sleep but these are more designed for smaller children. The Lockmaster 42's (we have 4 of these layouts) have two double berth cabins. These are the best option if you plan to have two couples on a single boat. Many of our renters, rent multiple boats and travel in a small flotilla. Our most luxurious boat is only designed for one couple. It is very large, we call it the Hariett. Are you thinking about renting for a special anniversary or retirement trip... consider the Hariett.
We are traveling from far away, how will be stock food, etc.
Routinely, our renters are from all 50 states and a large number of our guests travel internationally to experience this waterway. We have grocery stores, wine stores, and huge Walmart with 2 miles of our marina. Also throughout the journey, each town has big and small stores to meet your needs.
Where can you travel on the canal?
We limit our vessels to the western half of the canal. You can travel as far west as Buffalo and the mouth of Lake Erie, to the East you can travel past Syracuse to the mouth of Lake Oneida. There are also several offshoots you can take including the canals that travel to the mouth of Cayuga and Seneca Lakes as well as the Genesee River to Rochester. This trip is not meant for the big lakes stated above. Our vessels are purpose-built for canal travel so plan on being close enough to the lakes to see them and experience the area but not a lake journey.
How hard are side trips?
Not hard at all. Close side trips in various towns can be completed by the included bikes or walking. But Uber is in this region and there are also many tour companies that could be arranged. For instance, you can get to Niagara Falls, George Eastman Mansion, 100 Wineries, City of Syracuse, Rochester or Buffalo, Woman's Sufferage Museums and Sites, Susan B. Anthony's House, Grave Yard where Jack the Ripper is buried, and more. History truly happened in this region and the Canal made upstate New York a viable commerce hub back in the day.
What about inclement weather?
It happens, this is an outdoor trip but the boats are designed to allow enjoyment and safety even on poor weather days. The pilot areas and other sitting areas have a canvas for rainy days, many of our boats have AC for hot days, and all have heat to make travel in the fall breathtaking.
Why are there only 20 +/- weeks listed on the calendar?
The Erie Canal is drained of about 65% of its water each year to ensure that ice doesn't damage Locks or Lift Bridges. So the season is what is listed on our site. Set up your charter early as our boats are in high demand and many popular weeks will sell out.