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Great Lakes Waterway: Map

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The Great Lakes Waterway is a system of channels and canals that makes all of the Great Lakesmarker accessible to oceangoing vessels. Its principal civil engineering components are the Welland Canalmarker, bypassing Niagara Fallsmarker between Lake Ontariomarker and Lake Eriemarker, and the Soo Locksmarker, bypassing the rapids of the St. Marys Rivermarker between Lake Superiormarker and Lake Huronmarker, at Sault Sainte Mariemarker. Maintained channels serve the St. Clair Rivermarker and Detroit River between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. A United States Coast Guard icebreaker helps keep the passage open for much of the winter, although shipping usually ceases for 2 or 3 months each year.

The Great Lakes Waterway is supplemented by the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which makes the Saint Lawrence Rivermarker navigable from Montrealmarker to Kingston, Ontariomarker. The two waterways are often jointly referred to as the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Great Lakes Seaway has larger locks and deeper drafts than the St. Lawrence Seaway with the result that a number of lake freighters are confined to the lakes, being small enough to operate on the Waterway but too large to pass down the Seaway.

The Great Lakes Waterway is co-administered by Canadamarker and the United Statesmarker.


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