The Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation comprises the Stainforth & Keady Canal (which joins the river Trent at Keadby Lock), the New Junction Canal (which runs between the Stainforth & Keadby Canal at Bramwith Junction and the Aire & Calder Navigation at Southfield Junction), the River Don Navigation (which runs from the bottom of Tinsley Flight to Bramwith Junction) and the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal (which runs from the head of navigation in Sheffield to the bottom of Tinsley Flight). A total of 48.4 miles (77.9 km) with 28 locks. The Dearne & Dove Canal (restoration proposed) also joined the River Don Navigation at Swinton.
The maximum boat size that can navigate throughout the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation is
length: 68' 7" (20.9 metres) - Ickles Lock or 61' 7" (18.8 metres) - Thorne Lock (Stainforth & Keadby Canal)
beam: 19' 0" (5.8 metres) - Ickles Lock (Tinsley Flight) or 18' 4" (5.6 metres) - Thorne Lock
height: 10' 0" (3.05 metres) - Bacon Lane Bridge
draught: 4' 0" (1.3 metres) - Tinsley Locks or 6' 7" (2 metres) - cill of Rotherham Lock and Attercliffe Aqueduct
Many of the locks (not Keadby Lock) require a Sanitary Station key to operate and have traffic lights (not Keadby or Thorne locks or the Tinsley Flight) to indicate the status of the lock (much the same as the Trent locks). For the larger locks, each gate and its paddles are controlled from an adjacent console. They are powered up by inserting a Sanitary Station key. An interlock prevents mis-operation. Detailed instructions are displayed at each console.
At the larger locks used by commercial vessels, recreational boaters are advised to keep clear of large vessels when they are leaving or entering a lock. Where provided, use the shorter leisure boat landings.
A Sanitary Station key is required for the swing bridges on the Stainforth & Keadby Canal. Keadby Lock, which leads to the tidal Trent, is operated by a lockkeeper - call 01724 782205 (or 07733 124611) 24-hours in advance.