panamal canal

destenie Axtell

what is it?

The Panama Canal is a 77.1-kilometre ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade.

why is it important?

The 50-mile-long passage created an important shortcut for ships; after the canal was constructed, a vessel sailing between New York and California was able to bypass the long journey around the tip of South America and trim nearly 8,000 miles from its voyage. The canal, which uses a system of locks to lift ships 85 feet above sea level, was the largest engineering project of its time. Find out more fascinating facts about this iconic waterway, including why thousands of workers died during its construction and how it’s now being modernized.

panama canal facts

The Canal runs in south and Southeast direction from Limón Bay at Colón on the Atlantic to the Bay of Panama at Balboa on the Pacific is 64 km long from shore to shore and it is 82 km long between channel entrances. The minimum depth of the canal is 2.5 m.

A trip along the canal from its Atlantic entrance would take you through a 7 mile dredged channel in Limón Bay. The canal then proceeds for a distance of 11.5 miles to the Gatun Locks. This series of three locks raise ships 26 metres to Gatun Lake. It continues south through a channel in Gatun Lake for 32 miles to Gamboa, where the Culebra Cut begins. This channel through the cut is 8 miles long and 150 metres wide. At the end of this cut are the locks at Pedro Miguel. The Pedro Miguel locks lower ships 9.4 metres to a lake which then takes you to the Miraflores Locks which lower ships 16 metres to sea level at the canals Pacific terminus in the bay of Panama.

The tactical location of the Panama Canal and the short distance between the oceans, have provoked many attempts over the centuries to construct a trading route between the oceans. Spanish, Scottish, European had attempted to bridge the oceans but only the French and Americans succeeded!