This was our first trip through the Murray Canal and we were both a bit nervous. We had to use the radio to call ahead to the two separate swing bridges and knew we would have to navigate some narrow spots with other boats close by.

Navionics Presquile to Murray Canal

Here’s the entrance to the Murray Canal.


It went a lot smoother than I was expecting. Only issue was using the radio to call ahead had to get Lori to skipper while I used the VHF. Going through the swing bridges were pretty easy, and should go something like this: Call ahead on VHF channel 14.

“Murray Canal West bridge, Murray Canal West bridge, this is Sailing Vessel Criss-Cross, Criss-Cross. Over”

“Criss-Cross, this is Murray Canal West bridge, where are you coming from? Over”

“Murray Canal West bridge, this is Criss-Cross, we are the sailboat approaching from the West, over”

“Criss-Cross, this is Murray Canal West bridge, keep your current speed, I will open the bridge as you approach, over”

“Murray Canal West bridge, this is Criss-Cross, copy that, will continue to monitor channel 14, out”

I’m still nervous using the radio and it didn’t exactly go down like that. Although they knew what I was trying to say and I even messed up our boat name once, “Criss Crotch”. Close enough.

As we approached the swing bridge, the operator called out to us on a loudspeaker to say, maintain speed and he would open the bridge for us. We continued on to the second bridge and it went a bit smoother over the radio.

Weather wasn’t looking great, a little rain, so we decided to head into Trenton as soon as we exited the Murray Canal. The Trenton marina is all new, beautiful docks with a very nice setup. But it was expensive, $49 for the night with power.


A few things things to remember about Trenton:

  • Call in on Channel 68 as you approach for a slip number and ask what side to dock.
  • Docks alphabetical from South to North (A-I). Last dock to North for transients.
  • Nice private bathrooms each with their own shower.
  • They offer access to their BBQs and with a grocery store and Shoppers Drug Mart right next door next time we would plan to use this as an opportunity to replenish our perishables, buy a nice steak and cook it up on the marina’s BBQ.
  • The security gates on docks have magnetic locks with a small silver button on right to release when you leave. Took a bit to find the button the first time.
  • There are great running trails. Start at gas dock and run along water to second bridge cross over and then head south along trail.
  • Check the music and events schedule, we just missed the country music weekend.
  • There is a wake boarding park across the river.
  • Would be interesting to check out the Trenton museum.

It was a bit wet, but can imagine these being popular seats on dry days.


The view from the back of our boat as the sun went down.


Lessons Learned

  • It’s difficult to use the radio and pilot the boat at the same time. It’s better to have someone else handle the communication while you are at the helm.
  • Practice your radio speak as much as you can. Use a recording app on your phone to put on the pressure you feel when using the radio. Make sure you can pronounce the name of your boat correctly.
  • Murray Canal seemed daunting, but was easier than we thought it would be.
  • Having better charts of the marinas would have been nice. We spent a bit of time scouting out the docks until we knew where to enter and find the dock they told us to go to.