Lefkas Canal

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WorldMediterraneanGreeceLefkasLefkas Canal
Lefkas Canal
North Entrance
38°50.89′N, 020°43.50′E Chart icon.png
South Entrance
38°47.56′N, 020°43.60′E Chart icon.png
Greece Lefkas Channel m.jpg
Lefkas Canal chartlet
Small info.png Latest News
On June 26, 2016 the bridge went into dry dock and a ferry is used as a substitute. The "openings" are 5:00, 7:30, 10:00, 12:00, 15:30, 18:00, 20:00, 22:00, 24:00. I can find no information on how long it will be this way.

--Sea Change 11:51, 11 July 2016 (BST)

  • The bridge is back and opens hourly between 7:00 and 22:00KHMT 18:15, 19 July 2019 (BST)

Lefkas Canal (Lefkas, Greece) runs for around 3.5 miles through the low-lying land at the NE end of the island and divides it from the Greek mainland.

The canal, which is dredged to a depth of 5.0 – 6.0 metres along most of its length, is shallow in places, especially at its N entrance, where depths are sometimes little more than 3.5 – 4.0 metres, and about two thirds of the way down from the N, where depths reduce at one point to around 3.5 metres.

The N part of the canal runs between training walls as far as Lefkas Town and is marked by poles (a few of them with red and green markers) for the rest of its length until arriving at the three pairs of buoys at the S end. In places, the channel is quite narrow, and north-going and south-going yachts may be competing for the deeper water in the centre of the channel.

There is a speed limit of 4.0 knots in the canal and sometimes an appreciable current of 1.0 – 1.5 knots, usually S-going.

The road from the mainland passes over the canal at its N end via a floating bridge which opens on the hour from 0600 – 2200 but only on request outside those times. Please see note below; currently the opening times are not on the hour and have been amended as below


The bridge supposedly keeps listening watch on VHF channel 12 "Floating Bridge Santa Maura", but this is not always the case.


Approach from N

The N entrance to Lefkas Canal 2015 - note mast to left of crane
The new N entrance to Lefkas Canal in 2016 from Google Earth.
Lefkas Santa Maura bridge
Lefkas bridge is fully opened

Approaching Lefkas Canal from the N is tricky, especially for a first time visitor and even more so if there are fresh to strong NW winds with the afternoon seabreeze, which cause a difficult swell as they break on the shore around the entrance. In such conditions it is wise to take down all sail well before arriving.

The entrance is no longer around a long sand spit. It has been shortened. In 2016 there are 3 yellow buoys off the spit. Leave them to starboard as you round the spit (coming from the north). Ignore you chart plotter which may show you being on land. The least depth observed through the northern approach in 2016 was 4.5 metres.

After rounding the spit, the channel turns S after 200 metres and the floating bridge is dead ahead. The bridge opens on the hour and opening is signified by the sounding of a siren. All road traffic onto and off the island is halted for the period of opening, so naturally the bridge operator is anxious to close it again as soon as possible.

The bridge has a rather peculiar construction: it can serve both as a draw bridge and a swing bridge. If there are only a few boats waiting then the operator could open just one wing (perhaps always W one), otherwise he raises the both spans and turns all the bridge sideways. It is important to keep a sufficient distance from the bridge in a case of the later scenario.

Yachts tend to bunch on both sides of the bridge to await the opening and any stragglers probably won’t make it. In theory, the S-going traffic has priority over the N-going, but in reality the pressure to close the bridge quickly means that everyone charges through in single file at speed as soon as the bridge opens (of course, observing the usual port-to-port rule, without which there is chaos).

If arriving before the bridge opens, it is possible to tie up alongside (or just hang off by the bow) the wall on the W side of the channel which is newly rebuilt (2016). If it is not very busy, it is possible with care to drop anchor temporarily on the 'bend' of the channel but holding is poor. NOTE: As at June 2016 the swing bridge is under repair and a roll-on/roll-off ferry has been brought into use. This doesn't "open" on the hour - current times are: 05:00, 07:30, 10:00, 12:00, 15:30, 18:00, 20:00, 22:00, 00:00 The Levkas marina can confirm the current timings on VHF 69

Approach from S

Approaching from the S is relatively straightforward as long as you identify the first set of three pairs of port and starboard buoys which mark the entrance to the canal. There is a conspicuous ruined Venetian fort a couple of hundred metres to starboard of the canal which is a useful landmark from distance.

The channel passes between some dangerous rocks on the starboard side and the remains of a ruined breakwater to port, so it is important to stay between the buoys.

If arriving at Lefkas Town before the bridge opens, it is possible to anchor temporarily off the town (see Lefkas Town page for details).


List popular passages/routes, timing, etc.


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


List links external to the wiki such as in Wikepedia.


See Greece.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

  • Bridge opening times: The bridge is a car ferry that is moored up to provide passage for vehicles - it moves out the way when open for boats. The current opening times (correct at 24 July 2016) are: 0500, 0730, 1000, 1200, 1530, 1800, 2000, 2200, 2400. The bridge does not respond on the VHF and does not open punctually. If approaching from the S, it is best to circle at Lefkas town quay or outside Lefkas Marin - keep an eye on the ferry with binoculars, it is easy to see when it moves. If in doubt phone Lefkas Marina to ask for opening time, they are very helpful and have the latest information. --RockoOne 16:15, 24 July 2016 (BST)Rocko One July 24th 2016

Verified by

Date of member's last visit to Lefkas Canal and this page's details validated:

  • September 2011 --Vadp
  • June 2015--Monterey Bermuda Icon.png
  • May 2016 Zebahdy of London

--RockoOne 16:15, 24 July 2016 (BST)July 2016 Rocko One

  • KHMT 18:10, 19 July 2019 (BST)

This is a usable page of the cruising guide. However, please contribute if you can to help it grow further. Click on Comments to add your personal notes on this page or to discuss its contents. Alternatively, if you feel confident to edit the page, click on the edit tab at the top and enter your changes directly.

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Names: Vadp, Monterey

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