The Manchester Ship Canal is not easy.
We moored on the Weaver which joins the MSC and navigated the MSC twice. The cost is high, 10 years ago it averaged £20 per lock, yes twenty, it's not a typo.
They insist on a "Survey" by a surveyor on their list, not cheap (about £250) for basically a safety gear and lines (rope) check that took 10 minutes. This Certificate of Seaworthyness is only good for one year.
Then you apply to navigate the canal from and to specific points, (don't forget if you are locking out onto the Mersey to check time tables, there is a 6 knot incoming flow at low water rising, and you are not allowed to travel at night. You should at your dimensions be possible to overnight at Elsmere Port if needed.
Then you are given permission to travel the waterway at a given time, that time only, miss it and you have to apply again. you are not allowed to stop,
There is (or was 10 years ago) a mooring pontoon at Salford Queys, no facilities. Then lock up into the Bridgewater Canal. The MSC own the Bridgewater, and you are only allowed on it as a visitor on a (was) British Waterways licence for a limited time.
We met a couple of LPG tankers, a Mersey ferry and a container ship, plus some small vessels on our travels, much like northern Europe and the Rhone, but with so so many more people telling you the what you can and can't do. They basically don't want "Pleasure craft" on the waterway.
There is a great covered (or was) dry dock facility on the Bridgewater,
The Weaver is nice (Ship size) but "Landlocked apart from the MSC" to all but narrowboats, unless the Runcorn flight has been put back into use, but I doubt that they have enough money for that yet.
L&L Could not travel it, too big in length.
Sorry for the delay answering you as had a few IT problems. The bridges are mainly arched and often at an angle, we did bow haul through quite a few when it was lashing down with the wheelhouse up but to power through would be difficult. Our wheelhouse is 8ft 10 inches tall our barges are similar but you are longer and wider. We must have done a good job of removing the rubbish in 2011 if no one else is having problems. Seem to remember reading that Cathy leaves the wooden wheelhouse in Liverpool and has a collapsable canopy for her extensive cruises. I don't think our barge types are ideal for the L&L unless your lucky and get dry settled weather.
Steven Wait wrote: The locks are hard work on the L&L and you will have many trips down the weed hatch clearing rubbish. ..., other than that a lovely waterway and pleased we did it but no plans to return.
The locks can hard work but we never had to clear the weed hatch and will certainly return!
I am pretty sure you will be ok with 7Ft 3ins. The lowest headroom of the entire canal is the entrance into Liverpool and even that has some flexibility as the depth of the water depends on the state of tide.
Feel free to private message me for more information.
We have sailed extensively along the Leeds Liverpool canal (we are based in Liverpool) and most of the other waterways in the north as far down as just south of Loughborough and as fa east as Boston. Most of our travelling was done in 2013/2014.
The critical dimension is your air draft - the rest of your dimensions are fine. Can you collapse your wheelhouse? - you will need to do this to get under the tunnels leading into Liverpool. You really need to be not more more than 7ft.
Hi Bret, not easy to advise with out your vessels size and type. The locks are hard work on the L&L and you will have many trips down the weed hatch clearing rubbish. After our trip in 2011 our propellor needed serious repairs and we later found the prop shaft was bent, other than that a lovely waterway and pleased we did it but no plans to return.
We are planning on having Edith lifted out of the Thames next spring and transport up north (to be put in at Wakefield). We would heartily welcome any advice on the Leeds & Liverpool, Manchester Ship Canal or any of the rivers and waterways around that area.