About the Panama Canal

Overview of the Panama Canal

Diagram of the Panama Canal

  • The Canal is 50 miles long from deep water in the Atlantic to deep water in the Pacific. The airline distance between the two entrances is 43 miles.
  • The full transit requires 12 hours for an average ship.
  • The largest lock is Gatun at the Atlantic entrance and comprises three chambers.
  • Pedro Miguel Locks are situation at the south end of the Gaillard Cut, and have one chamber.
  • Miraflores Locks are situated at the Pacific entrance and have two chambers.
  • Each locks chamber is 110 feet wide and 1,000 feet long.
  • A ship is raised or lowered 85 feet in a continuous flight of three steps at Gatun Locks.
  • In accordance with the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, the operation and management of the Panama canal was transferred to the Government of Panama on December 31, 1999.