In its first marine notice of 2014 Waterways Ireland has moved to advise of the dangers posed at at harbours, jetties and moorings during thew current stormy weather.
Masters and Owners of vessels berthed in public harbours, at jetties or moorings are advised against visiting any vessels or boats during periods of extreme weather such as storm force winds and heavy rainfall.
Strong winds are a hazard to personal safety if walking on or near navigation infrastructure and also because of blown debris from trees or buildings in the vicinity. There is also the hazard of the unpredictable nature of rising water levels and their effect on built infrastructure.
At present a number of mooring facilities and access ramps to same and the approach roads and paths to their associated car parks are underwater or are inaccessible across all navigations.
Fast flowing currents, eddies and turbulent water will be experienced in and around these structures for some time after the storms have passed.
Mooring lines and cleats on vessels at these facilities will be under strain as will the shore bollards that they are made fast to. Extreme care should be exercised when releasing lines in these circumstances to avoid them snapping back and causing injury. There is also the danger of deck cleats, which may have been weakened whilst under strain, pulling out and striking a person when engaged in this activity.
Waterways Ireland further advises that full personal protective equipment such as lifejacket and foul weather gear be worn if it is deemed necessary to visit a craft in a harbour that the visit is undertaken in company with a colleague and that someone has been advised of an expected return time. A fully charged mobile phone should be carried in the event of an emergency and the visit should be made during daylight hours.
C J Lawn
Lt Cdr (rtd)
Inspector of Navigation
3 Jan 2014.
Tel: 00 353 (0)90 6494232