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Stay Home & Away From Navigations This Easter Weekend, Waterways Ireland Appeals

9th April 2020
A boat for Holy Island on Lough Derg, Co Clare A boat for Holy Island on Lough Derg, Co Clare Photo: Fáilte Ireland

Waterways Ireland’s message to all users of Ireland’s inland waterways this Easter weekend is to “please stay at home”.

In a statement, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland navigations said: “We are aware that Easter is normally a time that our boating community look forward to the start of the new season, when colleagues meet up, and plan many excursions for the year ahead.

“During the Covid-19 crisis such interactions will not be possible. Our navigations have been effectively closed since 30 March in order to comply with Government guidelines.

“Operational staff, water patrollers and lock-keepers are not available to undertake lock operations on any of our navigable waterways.

“We are continuing to undertake essential management of water levels, and any emergency works that may arise, under strict social distancing protocols. We ask all our boaters to continue to observe the regulations.

Waterways Ireland reminds users of its navigations that:

  • Boating activity on the water is suspended until further notice;
  • Travel in excess of 2km to check on vessels moored on the navigation is prohibited until further notice;
  • Winter mooring facilities have been extended until 30 April in order to ease the pressure on our boating community.
  • Boaters do not need to travel to move their vessel;
  • Electricity and water services have been reconnected following completion of assessments of health and safety issues in the aftermath of the recent flooding;
  • Normal pump-out facilities are available for boaters. Owners must ensure that travel to pump-out facilities must be undertaken in a responsible manner, minimising the amount of essential movement out on the water;
  • Canoeing, kayaking, or any paddling activities on the navigable waterways is suspended until further notice;
  • Fishing is suspended on our waterways until further notice;
  • Open-water swimming is suspended in our waterways until further notice; and
  • All Waterways Ireland service blocks are closed in accordance with Government guidelines.

Towpaths remain open and accessible for local exercise, but Waterways Ireland asks the public to limit their use, and only use towpaths which are in close vicinity (within 2km) of your home. It also calls on people to:

  • Observe social distancing protocols - keep a distance of at least 2m (6 feet) away from other people;
  • Use the towpaths for brief physical exercise only;
  • Limit use – do not take part in physical activity on towpaths which have the potential for large numbers, where social distancing cannot be observed comfortably;
  • Don't meet up with other groups;
  • Stay in your family household group;
  • Stay local to your home (within 2km);
  • As towpaths in some places can be narrow, when you pass someone, please make sure you use the full width of the towpath, keep moving, and stand aside to allow others to pass, in single file, when necessary;
  • If you can't avoid passing a moored boat please keep as far away from it as possible and pass quickly by;
  • Be mindful of others and act always with consideration and with respect; and
  • Observe all health etiquettes when on the towpaths.

“We are aware that restriction of services and facilities impacts on the ability of users to enjoy our wonderful waterways,” the organisation says.

“All measures are being taken to support the national effort in keeping people safe, protecting our staff, colleagues, partners and everyone who visits, or lives on and around our canals and river navigations.

“We will continually review such measures in light of direction and advice from Government and health professionals and any decisions on service provision will be communicated.”

It added: “We ask all our stakeholders, families and colleagues to continue to be safe during the crisis. Please look after each other and enjoy the Easter break at home.”

Published in Inland Waterways
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