Panama Canal Authority’s Latest Advisory

Panama Canal Authority’s Latest Advisory

Mandatory Real Time Kinematics Requirement

Effective October 1, 2023, all vessels with a beam of 109 feet or more transiting the Panama Canal will be required to have a fixed (non-portable) piloting unit with Real Time Kinematics (RTK) for submeter accuracy. This measure is expected to improve the efficiency of the waterway by eliminating the delays associated with the installation of portable piloting units (PPU-RTK).

The vessel will be responsible to procure, install, configure, and maintain the fixed piloting unit in proper condition. The unit shall be installed and powered to provide the required communication with the pilot´s tablet and the SafePilot’s software via wireless network, ensuring a stable and long-range connection in all conning positions during the transit through the Panama Canal.

The specifications and installation guide for the fixed piloting unit are available through the following link:

A non-portable unit installed on the bridge of the vessel and external antennas. Provides Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) based position with centimeter precision, speed, course, heading, rate of turn and Automatic Identification System (AIS) targets data. All data must be real time. All data must be shared via WiFi to the tablet and application used by the Panama Canal personnel. The unit must receive GNSS corrections via Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and cellular data from the Panama Canal Differential Global Navigation Satellite System (DGNSS) base stations and servers. The system should be able to operate autonomous for at least 5 hours without power from the vessel in case of a blackout.

All units must be preapproved by the Panama Canal.

Once this new requirement is effective, the compliance of the piloting unit will become part of the vessel´s arrival inspection. If requirements are not met, a portable piloting unit with Real Time Kinematics (PPU-RTK) will be temporarily installed in the vessel, at an additional cost.

The above-mentioned requirement is mandatory. Non-compliance may result in delay of transit and/or additional costs, as well as possible fines.

For information about this new ACP requirements please get in touch with us at

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