WASHAGO, ONT. -- With the sun beaming down, the first boat of the season travelled through Lock 42 between Lake Couchiching and Sparrow Lake once the Trent Severn Waterway officially opened on Monday.

The national historic site typically opens in time for the May long weekend, but the pandemic forced a late start to the season.

"So we are skipping ahead a couple of weeks," says Karen Feeley with Parks Canada. "It's a beautiful day, and we are open for visitors."

Boaters can access locks, boat launches and moorings.

Day-use areas are also open to the public, including green spaces, picnic areas, trails and parking lots.

There are new procedures for boaters to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and enhanced cleaning in public washrooms.

"We are asking people to stay on their boats as much as possible.

We are also asking people to use our touchless payment options, no rafting, that means inside the lock chamber. We don't want you to raft onto other boats, and we want to make sure you are able to crew your own lines with our assistance verbally if that is required," explains Feeley.

The lock at Swift Rapids is the only lock station in the system that didn't open as it undergoes repairs.

Boaters can navigate from Georgian Bay to Lake Ontario once repairs are done later this month.

Camping facilities remain closed at national parks until at least June 21.