The Panama Canal (Spanish: Canal de Panamá) is an artificial 82 km (51 mi) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean.
The Panama Canal has 3 locks total, with 3 chambers on each side of the ocean (total six): 3 on the Atlantic Side (the Gatun Lock has 3 chambers), and 3 on the Pacific Side. On the Pacific side, the total of chambers had to be split into the Miraflores Locks (2 chambers) and Pedro Miguel Locks (1 chamber).
The Panama Canal was built to reduce the distance that ships had to travel to pass between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The canal allows shippers of commercial goods (anything from automobiles to fuels) to save time and money, which, generally speaking, means lower consumer prices for you and me.
The panama canal needs locks because it goes over a mountain. The locks lift the ships up to the level of a man-made lake, and then let them down again to the ocean on the other side. You can have a canal that is all at sea level. ... Because the land was flat and level, they could cut the canal through at sea levelFun Facts About Panama.If however the canal had been constructed without the lake, by digging a 100 ft. deep trench across the isthmus, it would still need locks because the sea-levels of the two oceans can vary by about 20 feet depending on tides. In that case, if the locks broke, you'd have one helluva tidal flow across the canal.Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic.
Geographically, the oceans that Panama Canal connects with are not at the same level; the Pacific Ocean lies a little higher than the Atlantic Ocean. This difference in the sea level requires ships to get up over the terrain of Panama- up to 26 meters above the sea level- in order to reach the other end of the canal.The canal generates fully one-third of Panama’s entire economy.