Mariners traversing the Cape Cod Canal save about 135 of travel by not having to go around Cape Cod. A state-of-the-art Marine Traffic Control System and the Corp's Marine Traffic Patrol support the effective operations of the Cape Cod Canal.The Cape Cod Canal is the world's widest (146 meters or 480 feet), and it has a mean low water depth of 9.8 meters (32 feet). Swift tides change direction every six hours at up to 8.4 kilometers (5.2 miles) per hour.
Large vessels up to 251.5 meters (825 feet) long use the Cape Cod Canal, but it is also a popular route with recreational boaters. The Corps of Engineers maintains the Congressionally-authorized depth of the Cape Cod Canal through dredging and other techniques.
The Cape Cod Canal project, which covers about 750 acres, is located within the State of Massachusetts's coastal eco-region. About 20% of the area has been developed with roads, lawns, buildings, and parking areas. Eighty percent of the area is forested and undeveloped. Of the undeveloped area, about 15% is wetlands. The marine climate surrounding the Cape Cod Canal supports species that do not usually survive this far north. The fact that the Cape Cod Canal property is highly disturbed adds to habitat diversity and has introduced some invasive species that threaten native plant species.