Navigating the narrow Panama Canal without striking the sides is a delicate process that involves precise maneuvering. Ships receive guidance from tugboats and highly-skilled canal pilots who are specialists in steering vessels through the canal’s confines. These pilots expertly direct the helm, engines, and lines to keep ships centered in the channel throughout the transit.


Additionally, the Panama Canal Authority carefully manages the dimensions of ships permitted to enter the locks. There are limits on beam width, length, and draft based on each lock chamber’s size. This prevents oversized ships from attempting to squeeze through spaces too tight for their dimensions. Only vessels within regulated size parameters receive the green light to transit.



Between the pilots’ expertise, tug assists, and size regulations, ships are able to closely navigate the canal’s twisting channels and pass safely through narrow locks without scraping the sides. The pilots especially play a crucial role, using their deep experience and localized knowledge to safely direct hundreds of diverse ships through this engineering marvel each year. Their guidance allows for collision-free transits.

Let's talk and find your solution