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Photographer: VisitTV

With yacht on Trollhätte Canal

The Trollhätte Canal

The Trollhätte Canal is 82 km long. 10 km of which are manmade, the remainder being a natural waterway – The Göta Älv River. The difference in level between Lake Vänern and the sea is 44 m. This change is catered for by six locks: one in Lilla Edet of 6 m. four at Trollhättan of 32 m. total and one at Brinkebergskulle of 6 m. Double bottoms in the locks ensure an even distribution of the water. This makes for gentle water movement, during both filling and draining. 8000-12000 m3 of water is required for each lock operation. Minimum water depth in the main canal is 6,3 m and the treshold depth of the locks is 5,7 m at the lowest water level.

The Locks

The opening of the first locks, in 1800, allowed ships with a freight capacity of 140 tons to pass through. Today, nearly two hundred years later, a modern Vänermax freighter carries up to 4000 tons in regular traffic. These ships are 89 m long, have a beam of 13,4 m and a draught of 5,4 m. Annually over 3,5 million tons of goods are shipped on the canal. The development of new and larger ships has also increased the canal’s capacity. With today’s ships it is possible to double the capacity of the canal without large investment. 

With a boat on Trollhätte Canal

All locks and bridges along the canal is under CCTV surveillance. The opening of bridges and locks are therefore controlled remotely from different stations along the channel, for example in Lilla Edet, Trollhättan and Brinkebergskulle. 

Before raising the bridge, pleasure craft are to keep as close to the bridge as possible, in order to decrease the time the bridge is raised. Bridge and lock openings are announced via electronic signs.

There are some important phone numbers you will need with you when you are travelling along the channel. These can be found in the overview map below. 

Maritime administration overview map can be found here

Report hazards and faults, urgent report

If you discover errors in marking, extinguished lights, drifting objects or observe anything else that could be dangerous for shipping we want you to immediately report it to the Maritime Administration.
Telephone +45(0)20 33 11 66 (available round the clock, free of charge).
VHF Call MSI SWEDEN or Stockholm Radio on the appropriate traffic cannel. 

Hints and tips for the journey at the Trollhätte Canal

Darkness / poor visibility: With regard to maritime safety we advise strongly against that recreational boats sail in the canal during darkness or poor visibility. 

Fire: Open fires are strictly forbidden in the locks

Use lifejackets and children are required to wear life jackets. If you fall in the water during lockage it is a risk that you will be dragged down. Remember that you are travelling in flowing water.

Waiting times at locks: Commercial traffic precedence. 
At highway bridges: During heavy traffic, boats gather in wait for bridge to open. 
At railway bridges: Rail traffic control openings of railway bridges. 

IMPORTANT! Lock opening times

The canal between Lilla Edet and Gropbron in Vänersborg is open for pleasure boats between 9 am to 7 pm. 

Fees for the Trollhättan Canal in 2023
Passage of all locks: 1100 SEK one way. 
Payment for the passage of all the locks takes place in Trollhättan at the Canal Center. Payment by credit card. 

Mooring in the locks

- Follow the lock operator instructions
- The lock must not be completely filled by pleasure boats, a free area of 25% must exist for security reasons
- Have the moorings or boat hook ready
- Fend off properly on both sides of the both, otherwise there is a risk that the boat scrapes against the edges
- The boat is best kept in place by grabbing ladders or hooks that are in the lock wall
- You can use the boat hook or rope
- Never allow children to travel the locks alone
- Never leave the boat unattended in the locks

Here you can read the Swedish Maritime Administration's information brochure about Trollhätte Canal.