Algoma Sailing Club
St. Mary's River,  Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

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NOAA, Tides and Currents,
Real Time Data, Little Rapids, (by sugar Island ferry), 3 days of data.

Q: How low is water in the St Mary's River?
A: Look at the The Little Rapids water levels graphs.

How does the levels change?

  • Winter snowmelt and summer rainfall do set the stage for spring and fall waters levels, but overall   water flows are regulated or effected by the following; the St Mary's River Dam Gates above the rapids, amount of boat traffic through the locks, and water being released by the 3 Hydro Generating Stations has an overall effect.
  • Combined with a strong North-West wind across lake superior that blow surface waters out of the St Mary's River within the cities of Sault Ste. Marie will have a great effect on overall river water levels. Usually a South-East wind will push back or withhold water.

Drought of 2012 (record lows)

  • Winter of 2012 left us with very little snowfall, plus an early spring, set the stage for low river waters for our spring Crane Launch. Then continuing with a with a hot summer with very little rain caused water levels to drop even more for our fall Crane Haulout. The stage was already set for 2012 as low water levels were already below the Low Water Datum. 

A.S.C. Water Levels

  • In 2010, 20 feet of  light dredging was performed to ensure that water depth for the larger keel boats would be adequate along the east dock to the gin-pole area.
  • In 2012, with the lowest waters levels ever seen by senior members, raised more concerns of water levels with the club more closely to monitor water levels and to explore a set of options for members to discuss and act on.
  • On Oct 15, 2012 water levels dropped to -(negative)28 inches below LWD (Low Water Datum), low enough that one could walk over on dry land to the small island in the bay, just east of the east dock and dingy dock. During this time, large keel boats had to wait until water levels rose to and above -18 inches as to prevent keels from dragging in the mud over the shallowest area for haulout. The executive permitted all large keel boats to raft up together after de-rigging at the gin pole, rather than heading back out to the moorings in case water levels were to drop again, but at haulout, waters levels were adequate.
  • Lowest low observed: Dec 24, 2012 was negative -38 inches

A.S.C. Level Measurement

  • To give an example, the picture at the left  shows at the shoreline end, the far north end, of the east floating dock, the water levels that everyone at the club uses as a visual guide by observing middle of the "H" Beam mounted on the break wall to the water levels. This flat spot is comparable to the LWD Zero set point at the NOAA Little Rapids just across the river by sugar island ferry.

Historical Water Levels + -

2020 Sept 20, Very high water levels of +49 inches. Dock Ramps became angled up from shore, had to raise the shore end higher.
2018 Haul Out: water levels higher +32 inches, Air Temp. 32^F, Winds 4 kn.
2017 Season overall: high
2012 Dec 24, extremely low negative -38 inches.

Note: The following photos show the "Extreme low levels of 2012".


Website hosted by Stoney Creek Solutions June 1, 2007
Last Update: Updated April 21, 2020
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