Maintained by the Norfolk District, the Dismal Swamp Canal and the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal form alternative routes along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway between the Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound. These two canals are part of the greater Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway which stretches from Norfolk, Va. and Miami, Fla., and offers pleasure boaters and commercial shippers with a protected inland channel.
Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal: Boaters drafting deeper than six feet can utilize the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, which is maintained to a depth of 12 feet.
The Great Bridge Lock in Chesapeake Va., has an operating staff on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The lock opens on demand, but boater should note that the City of Chesapeake’s Great Bridge Bridge, located adjacent to the lock, opens every hour from 6:00 a.m., to 7:00 p.m., and on demand after 7:00 pm. The schedule is subject to change during adverse weather conditions. The Great Bridge Lock operators can be reached at (757) 547-3311 or marine radio channel 13.
North Landing Bridge is also located opens every hour and half hour from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on demand at all times for commercial traffic and after 7:00 pm. North Landing Bridge operators can be reached at (757) 482-3081 or marine radio channel 13.
Note: the Dismal Swamp Canal is currently closed after damage from Hurricane Matthew. Repairs are ongoing.
Dismal Swamp Canal: Boaters interested in traveling along the Dismal Swamp Canal route should note that the canal is maintained to a depth of 6 feet; however, boaters should also verify the latest channel conditions. The locks and bridges along this route have a minimum operating staff on duty from 8:00 a.m., to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Two locks, Deep Creek and South Mills, are along the route and normally open at 8:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year; however, the schedule is subject to change during droughts or adverse weather conditions; call the Deep Creek Lock and Bridge operator at (757) 487-0831, and the South Mills Lock and Bridge operator at (252) 771-5906 to confer before transiting the canal. Both lock and bridge operators monitor marine radio channel 13.
Boats can anchor or moor overnight in canal but keep in mind a limited amount tie-up facilities are located along the canal.
Boaters can also stop at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, located near South Mills, N.C.. The welcome center can be reached by phone at (252) 771-8333.