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#CancelledSailings - Plans of thousands of holidaymakers have been thrown into disarray after technical problems forced the cancellation of this weekend’s sailings of Brittany Ferries flagship Pont-Aven vessel between Cork and France.

The Irish Examiner writes that the French ferry and holiday company confirmed last night that the Pont-Aven’s scheduled sailing on Friday from Rosscoff to Cork, and its Saturday sailing from Cork to Rosscoff have both been cancelled.

They are among several Pont-Aven sailings between Ireland and England to France and Spain, which have been cancelled this week after the vessel developed propeller problems.

A Brittany Ferries spokesperson said: “Brittany Ferries is endeavouring to contact all affected passengers as soon as possible with advice and available options.

“Passengers are being asked to be patient as there may be difficulty in contacting Brittany Ferries due to the volume of calls.”

The spokesperson encouraged passengers to check the company website for sailing updates.

“The company apologises to all passengers for the inconvenience this will cause to journeys,” she said.

The Pont-Aven, Brittany Ferries’ flagship vessel, entered service in 2004.

The newspaper which mas more to report here also adds that plans announced two years ago to replace the vessel have been put on hold, it has emerged.

Published in Brittany Ferries

#FerryBut2017? – Restoration of the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead ferry service this season faced a setback as facilities in the Irish harbour will not become available until at least 2017, writes Jehan Ashmore.

In responding to questions from Afloat.ie as to the delay, a Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) spokesperson cited that Stena Line (former route operators until 2014) have begun this week to remove HSS berth infrastructure in the harbour as previously reported.

Work is expected to be completed by August this year and DLHC added that the harbour facilities will only become available for use by a potential new ferry operator from 2017.

This will be the second successive season in which there will be no summer ferry sailings on the Holyhead route.

It was in 2015 that Stena Line finally confirmed in the permanent closure of the historic route dating to 1835.

The decision followed recent years of losses incurred on Welsh route. The link was served by highspeed sea-service (HSS) Stena Explorer until the fast-ferry was withdrawn in September 2014.

Less than half a year later, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) through a E-Tendering process received seven expressions of interest from operators to provide a seasonal-only ferry service. Before DLHC had received these responses, the harbour company said that any new potential operator would not be serving the route until at least 2016.

The 1,500 passenger HSS Stena Explorer had begun service in 1996, however from 2011 the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route was reduced to a seasonal-only service running between April and September. The sailing schedule consisted of only a single daily round-trip that was part of a raft of measures to reduce high running costs in a declining market and competition from airlines.

Stena’s departure from the Dun Laoghaire route led directly to the ferry firm consolidating existing operations out of the neighbouring port of Dublin. This was achieved by enhancing services to Holyhead by replacing Stena Nordica, with larger Stena Superfast X to partner Stena Adventurer.

In late 2015 Stena Explorer was sold to Turkish owners and as reported only yesterday on Afloat.ie, the Finnish built catamaran car-carrying craft is now back on the market for £4.5m.

Current owners, Karadeniz Holdings having abandoned plans to convert the craft renamed One World Karadeniz into a floating office in Istanbul.

#HSSforSale - Stena Line’s former Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead fast ferry, HSS Stena Explorer is up for sale again for around £4.5m - just months after it was sold as previously reported on Afloat.ie

The Stena Explorer, once one of the world’s fastest large ferries, was sold in October to Turkish firm Karadeniz Holding who were planning to convert it into a high-tech floating office.

It was taken from Holyhead to Turkey last year and as Afloat adds following the withdraw of the HSS craft from the route that closed in September 2014.

But now the ferry - that originally cost £65m and first came on the Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire route in 1996 - is available to buy again.

Its price has fallen somewhat since its unveiling 20 years ago and is now available for $6.5m, around £4.5m.

For more on the story, the Daily Post has a report here. 

In addition to Afloat's report of a project to dismantle the Stena HSS berth in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. 

#HSSberth – The disused Stena HSS berth at Dun Laoghaire Harbour is to be dismantled and removed in a process taking up to 10 weeks to complete, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Planning permission was granted to Stena by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to dismantle berth No. 5 at St. Micheal’s Pier from where the final HSS Stena Explorer sailing to Holyhead took place in September 2014.

The operator having consolidated existing services on the Dublin Port route to the Welsh port that began in 1995.

Work at No. 5 berth is where the specialist docking infrastructure designed only for Stena HSS 1500 class fast-ferries, is to involve the removal of the linkspan, gangway and associated equipment.

A tug, MTS Valour is to begin towage of a barge from Stranraer, Scotland to Dun Laoghaire where the HSS related structures are to be loaded on board.

Coincidentally, Stranraer is also where Stena operated the HSS Stena Voyager in tandem with a pair of ferries on the Belfast route until switching Scottish ferryport to Cairnryan in 2011.

Also as part of the works in Dun Laoghaire (see Notice to Mariners No. 9) will be the removal of the pontoon at No 4 which is the adjacent berth on St. Micheals Pier. This berth-linkspan was last used by the smaller fast-ferry, Stena Lynx III until 2011.

Afloat.ie awaits a response from Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company to finally confirm proposals to restore seasonal-only ferry services to Holyhead, having begun a tendering process in February 2015.

Only in recent months saw the retail letting opportunity of the former ferry terminal and now the project to remove ferry-related infrastructure from the port.

#LiverpoolBerth - Before plans for a new landing berth in Liverpool for the Isle of Man ferries can go ahead, several questions must be answeered says TravelWatch.

The IOM Today writes that the passenger watchdog held a public meeting last Thursday when numerous issues were raised.

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK has visited Liverpool to meet the city’s Mayor Joe Anderson to discuss plans to relocate the Steam Packet berth from its historic Pier Head location to make way for a cruise liner terminal. A new site to the north at Waterloo Dock has been earmarked for Manx ferries.

The proposed new landing stage will be almost half a mile away from the current one.

The cost of the move has been estimated at £15m, but Mr Gawne has described that figure as ‘ridiculously optimistic’.

For further coverage on plans for the ferry terminal relocation, click here.

Published in Ferry

#SeasonStarts – CalMac’s Ardrossan-Campbeltown (Mull of Kintyre) summer-only ferry route which began on a trial pilot basis in 2013, resumed seasonal service last week on what is now a ‘permanent’ route in the Scottish operators network, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The permanency of the Ayrshire-Kintyre route in south-west Scotland was announced in January by Minister for Transport and Islands, Derek Mackay following three successful summer seasons.

In total the route transported an average of over 10,000 passengers and 2,000 cars annually on the season route that began in April and concluded at the end of September. This season the route that began almost a week ago by Isle of Arran (1984/3,296grt) will continue operations up to the 25 September and the permanent route is part of an enhanced summer timetable for CalMac services.

Prior to last week’s reopening, Afloat noted that the Isle of Arran had received a scheduled dry-docking at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead. The veteran vessel dating to 1984 will as usual provide additional summer sailing capacity on the Arran service: Ardrossan-Brodick served by Caledonian Isles (1993/5,221grt).

According to the CalMac website, essential improvement works on the island port of Brodick are being carried out around to boarding and disembarking areas. Sailings will be unaffected by these improvement works.

Published in Ferry

#RoPaxReturns - Ropax Ben-My-Chree, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's Douglas-Heysham route ferry has returned to service with a sailing this morning from the Manx capital, following completion of her scheduled statutory biennial overhaul.

The 12,500 tonne ship, which has served the Island for 18 years, has been in dry dock for three weeks for her scheduled ‘service’. The work has included a technical overhaul as well as refreshing some of the passenger areas, including refurbishments to the seating, general decor and lighting in the Executive, Niarbyl and Premium lounges

During the overhaul MV Arrow has maintained freight services whilst fast craft Manannan has operated scheduled passenger services to Heysham, Liverpool and Belfast.

 

Published in Ferry

#PortofLarne - Providers of accommodation in Larne, Co. Antrim according to The Newsletter, are fearing for their future due to plummeting visitor numbers, following the loss of the Troon ferry route.

The loss-making Irish Sea route, which traditionally ran from March to October, was officially scrapped by operators P&O Ferries in January.

And with the tourist season now in full swing, a number of Larne businesses are beginning to feel the inevitable fallout of the route’s withdrawal – with some guesthouses reporting that visitor numbers have halved.

The Larne Times spoke to several guesthouse operators in the town, who all confirmed they have experienced a substantial drop in business in recent weeks.

Ivy Chalmers of Derrin Guest House revealed that bookings over the past month have shrunk by about 40 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The newspaper has more, click here.

Afloat adds that P&O Ferries continue to operate the Larne-Cairnryan route which is operated year round by a pair of ropax ferries. 

 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - The fire broke out on the Irish Ferries 2.40am (yesterday, Monday) Holyhead to Dublin crossing and normal services have now resumed.

According to the Daily Post, the firm’s largest ferry Ulysses, which can carry up to 2,000 passengers, was close to docking at Dublin Port when the blaze was detected at 5.45am.

A spokesman for Irish Ferries said the fire started in a lorry cab, however the cause has not yet been established.

There were no reports of any injuries.

He said: “We can confirm there was a small fire on Ulysses this morning, on the 2.40am Holyhead to Dublin service.

“The fire was detected immediately and didn’t spread to any other vehicles.

For more on the story, click here.

Published in Ferry

#ServiceAgreement - The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has presented an ‘offer’ to the Manx Government for a new strategic sea services agreement to replace the user agreement.

The IOM Today writes that last summer the government issued an ultimatum to the Steam Packet – make us a ‘significantly enhanced’ offer or ferry services will be put out to competition.

Now the ferry operator’s chief executive, Mark Woodward, has confirmed an offer has been made which he hoped Tynwald will get the chance to support in the next few months.

The company has not yet disclosed details of the ‘offer’ but Mr Woodward told the Courier it will be made public and that it will involve investment in new ships.

Welcoming the appointment of Vision Nine as the new promoter for the TT and Classic TT, Mr Woodward said the offer to government would ‘help address the crucial issue of visitor capacity’.

For more on the story, click here.

Published in Ferry
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General Information on using Waterways Ireland inland navigations

Safety on the Water

All users of the navigations are strongly recommended to make themselves aware of safety on the water for whatever activity they are involved in and to read the advice offered by the various governing bodies and by:

The Dept. of Transport, Ireland: www.gov.ie/transport and The Maritime and Coastguard Agency, UK, The RNLI – Water Safety Ireland for information in terms of drowning prevention and water safety.

Registration of Vessels

All vessels using the Shannon Navigation, which includes the Shannon-Erne Waterways and the Erne System must be registered with Waterways Ireland. Only open undecked boats with an engine of 15 horsepower or less on the Shannon Navigation, and vessels of 10 horsepower or less on the Erne System, are exempt. Registration is free of charge.

Craft registration should be completed online at: https://www.waterwaysireland.org/online-services/craft-registration

Permits for use of the Grand and Royal Canals and the Barrow Navigation

All vessels using the Grand and Royal Canals and the Barrow Navigation must display appropriate valid Permit(s) i.e A Combined Mooring and Passage Permit (€126) and if not intending to move every five days, an Extended Mooring Permit (€152).

Permit applications should be completed online at: https://www.waterwaysireland.org/online-services/canal-permits

Passage on the Royal and Grand Canals – Dublin Area

For boat passage through the locks east of Lock 12 into / out of Dublin on either the Royal or Grand Canals, Masters are requested to contact the Waterways Ireland Eastern Regional Office (M-F 9.30am-4.30pm) on tel: +353(0)1 868 0148 or email [email protected] prior to making passage in order to plan the necessary lock-keeping assistance arrangements.

On the Grand Canal a minimum of two days notice prior to the planned passage should be given, masters should note that with the exception of pre-arranged events, a maximum of 2 boats per day will be taken through the locks, travelling either east or west.

Movements in or out of the city will be organised by prior arrangement to take place as a single movement in one day. Boaters will be facilitated to travel the system if their passage is considered to be safe by Waterways Ireland and they have the valid permit(s) for mooring and passage.

Newcomen Lifting Bridge

On the Royal Canal two weeks’ notice of bridge passage (Newcomen Lifting Bridge) is required for the pre-set lift date, and lock assistance will then also be arranged. A minimum of 2 boats is required for a bridge lift to go ahead.

Waterways Ireland Eastern Regional Office (Tel: +353(0)1 868 0148 or [email protected] ) is the point of contact for the bridge lift.

A maximum number of boats passing will be implemented to keep to the times given above for the planned lifts (16 for the Sat / Sun lifts & 8 for the weekday lifts). Priority will be given on a first come first served basis.

On day of lift, boaters and passengers must follow guidance from Waterways Ireland staff about sequence of passage under bridge & through Lock 1, and must remain within signed and designated areas.

Events Held on the Waterways

All organised events taking place on the waterways must have the prior approval of Waterways Ireland. This is a twelve week process and application forms must be accompanied with the appropriate insurance, signed indemnity and risk assessment. The application should be completed on the Waterways Ireland events page at :

https://www.waterwaysireland.org/online-services/event-approval

Time Limits on Mooring in Public Harbours

On the Shannon Navigation and the Shannon-Erne Waterway craft may berth in public harbours for five consecutive days or a total of seven days in any one month.

On the Erne System, revised Bye Laws state that: No master or owner shall permit a vessel, boat or any floating or sunken object to remain moored at or in the vicinity of any public mooring, including mooring at any other public mooring within 3 kilometres of that location, for more than 3 consecutive days and shall not moor at that same mooring or any other public mooring within 3 kilometres of that location within the following 3 consecutive days without prior permission by an authorised official.

Winter Mooring on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon Erne Waterway

Winter mooring may be availed of by owners during the period 1 Nov to 31 Mar by prior arrangement and payment of a charge of €63.50 per craft. Craft not availing of Winter Mooring must continue to comply with the “5 Day Rule”. Winter Mooring applications should be completed online at : https://www.waterwaysireland.org/online-services/winter-moorings-booking

Owners should be aware that electricity supply and water supply to public moorings is disconnected for the winter months. This is to protect against frost damage, to reduce running costs and to minimise maintenance requirements during the winter months.

Vessel owners are advised that advance purchasing of electricity on the power bollards leading up to the disconnection date should be minimal. Electricity credit existing on the bollards will not be recoverable after the winter decommissioning date. Both services will be reinstated prior to the commencement of the next boating season.

Smart Cards

Waterways Ireland smart cards are used to operate locks on the Shannon Erne Waterway, to access the service blocks, to use the pump-outs along the navigations, to avail of electrical power at Waterways Ireland jetties.

Berthing in Public Harbours

Masters are reminded of the following:

  • Equip their vessel with mooring lines of appropriate length and strength and only secure their craft to mooring bollards and cleats provided for this purpose.
  • Ensure the available berth is suitable to the length of your vessel, do not overhang the mooring especially on finger moorings on floating pontoon moorings.
  • Ensure mooring lines, electric cables and fresh water hoses do not create a trip hazard on public jetties for others users.
  • Carry sufficient fenders to prevent damage to your own vessel, other vessels and WI property.
  • Allow sufficient space between your vessel and the vessel ahead /astern (c.1m) for fire safety purposes and /or to recover somebody from the water.
  • Do not berth more than two vessels side by side and ensure there is safe access/egress at all times between vessels and onto the harbour itself.
  • Do not berth in such a way to prevent use of harbour safety ladders, slipways or pump-outs.
  • Do not allow the bow of your vessel to overhang the walkway of a floating mooring thus creating a hazard for others with an overhanging anchor or bow fendering.
  • Animals are not allowed to be loose or stray at any time.
  • Harbour and jetty infrastructure such as railings, power pedestals, fresh water taps, electric light poles, safety bollards, ladders etc are not designed for the purpose of mooring craft , they will not bear the strain of a vessel and will be damaged.
  • At Carrybridge on the Erne System, Masters of vessels are not permitted to use stern on mooring. Masters of vessels must use the mooring fingers for mooring of vessels and for embarkation / disembarkation from vessels.

Passenger Vessel Berths

Masters of vessels should not berth on passenger vessel berths where it is indicated that an arrival is imminent. Passenger vessels plying the navigations generally only occupy the berths to embark and disembark passengers and rarely remain on the berths for extended periods or overnight.

Lock Lead-in Jetties

Lead-in jetties adjacent to the upstream and downstream gates at lock chambers are solely for the purpose of craft waiting to use the lock and should not be used for long term berthing.

Vessel Wake

Vessel wake, that is, the wave generated by the passage of the boat through the water, can sometimes be large, powerful and destructive depending on the hull shape and engine power of the vessel. This wake can be detrimental to other users of the navigation when it strikes their craft or inundates the shoreline or riverbank. Masters are requested to frequently look behind and check the effect of their wake / wash particularly when passing moored vessels, on entering harbours and approaching jetties and to be aware of people pursuing other activities such as fishing on the riverbank.

Speed Restriction

A vessel or boat shall not be navigated on the Shannon Navigation at a speed in excess of 5 kph when within 200 metres of a bridge, quay, jetty or wharf, when in a harbour or canal or when passing within 100 metres of a moored vessel or boat.

Vessels navigating the Shannon-Erne Waterway should observe the general 5 kph speed limit which applies along the waterway. This is necessary in order to prevent damage to the banks caused by excessive wash from vessels.

Vessels navigating the Erne System should observe the statutory 5kt / 6mph / 10kph speed limit areas.

A craft on the Royal and Grand canals shall not be navigated at a speed in excess of 6km per hour.

A craft on the Barrow Navigation shall not be navigated at a speed in excess of 11km per hour except as necessary for safe navigation in conditions of fast flow.

Bank Erosion

Narrow sections of all the navigations are particularly prone to bank erosion due to the large wash generated by some craft. Masters are requested to be vigilant and to slow down to a speed sufficient to maintain steerage when they observe the wash of their craft inundating the river banks.

Unusual Waterborne Activity

Unusual waterborne vessels may be encountered from time to time, such as, hovercraft or amphibious aircraft / seaplanes. Masters of such craft are reminded to apply the normal “Rule of the Road” when they meet conventional craft on the water and to allow extra room to manoeuvre in the interest of safety.

Sailing Activity

Mariners will encounter large numbers of sailing dinghies from late June to August in the vicinity of Lough Derg, Lough Ree and Lower Lough Erne. Sailing courses are marked by yellow buoys to suit weather conditions on the day. Vessels should proceed at slow speed and with due caution and observe the rules of navigation when passing these fleets, as many of the participants are junior sailors under training.

Rowing

Mariners should expect to meet canoes and vessels under oars on any part of the navigations, but more so in the vicinity of Athlone, Carrick-on-Shannon, Coleraine, Enniskillen and Limerick. Masters are reminded to proceed at slow speed and especially to reduce their wash to a minimum when passing these craft as they can be easily upset and swamped due to their very low freeboard and always be prepared to give way in any given traffic situation.

Canoeing

Canoeing is an adventure sport and participants are strongly recommended to seek the advice of the sport’s governing bodies i.e Canoeing Ireland and the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland, before venturing onto the navigations.

Persons in charge of canoes are reminded of the inherent danger to these craft associated with operating close to weirs, sluice gates, locks and other infrastructure particularly when rivers are in flood and large volumes of water are moving through the navigations due to general flood conditions or very heavy localised precipitation e.g. turbulent and broken water, stopper waves. Shooting weirs is prohibited without prior permission of Waterways Ireland.

Canoeists should check with lockkeepers prior entering a lock to ensure passage is done in a safe manner. Portage is required at all unmanned locks.

Canoe Trail Network – "Blueways"

Masters of powered craft are reminded that a canoe trail network is being developed across all navigations and to expect more organised canoeing along these trails necessitating slow speed and minimum wash when encountering canoeists, rowing boats etc

Rockingham and Drummans Island Canals – Lough Key

It is expected that work on Rockingham and Drummans Island Canals on Lough Key will be completed in 2021. Access to these canals will be for non-powered craft only, eg canoes, kayaks, rowing boats.

Fast Powerboats and Personal Watercraft (Jet Skis)

Masters of Fast Powerboats (speed greater than 17kts) and Personal Watercraft (i.e.Jet Skis) are reminded of the inherent dangers associated with high speed on the water and especially in the confines of small bays and narrow sections of the navigations. Keeping a proper look-out, making early alterations to course and /or reducing speed will avoid conflict with slower vessels using the navigation. Personal Watercraft are not permitted to be used on the canals.

Towing Waterskiers, Wakeboarders, Doughnuts etc

Masters of vessels engaged in any of these activities are reminded of the manoeuvring constraints imposed upon their vessel by the tow and of the added responsibilities that they have to the person(s) being towed. These activities should be conducted in areas which are clear of conflicting traffic. It is highly recommended that a person additional to the master be carried to act as a “look-out” to keep the tow under observation at all times.

Prohibition on Swimming

Swimming in the navigable channel, particularly at bridges, is dangerous and is prohibited due to the risk of being run over by a vessel underway in the navigation.

Age Restrictions on operating of powered craft

In the Republic of Ireland, Statutory Instrument 921 of 2005 provides the legal requirements regarding the minimum age for operating of powered craft. The Statutory Instrument contains the following requirements:

- The master or owner of a personal watercraft or a fast power craft shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person who has not attained the age of 16 years does not operate or control the craft

- The master or owner of a pleasure craft powered by an engine with a rating of more than 5 horse power or 3.7 kilowatts shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person who has not attained the age of 12 years does not operate or control the craft.

Lifejackets and Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

Lifejackets and PFD’s are the single most important items of personal protective equipment to be used on a vessel and should be worn especially when the vessel is being manoeuvred such as entering / departing a lock, anchoring, coming alongside or departing a jetty or quayside.

In the Republic of Ireland, Statutory Instrument 921 of 2005 provides the legal requirements regarding the wearing of Personal Flotation Devices. The Statutory Instrument contains the following requirements:

- The master or owner of a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft) shall ensure, that there are, at all times on board the craft, sufficient suitable personal flotation devices for each person on board.

- A person on a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft) of less than 7 metres length overall shall wear a suitable personal flotation device while on board an open craft or while on the deck of decked craft, other than when the craft is made fast to the shore or at anchor.

- The master or owner of a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft) shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person who has not attained the age of 16 years complies with paragraph above.

- The master or owner of a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft), shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person who has not attained the age of 16 years wears a suitable personal flotation device while on board an open craft or while on the deck of a decked craft other than when it is made fast to the shore or at anchor.

- The master or owner of a pleasure craft (other than a personal watercraft) shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person wears a suitable personal flotation device, at all times while – (a) being towed by the craft, (b) on board a vessel or object of any kind which is being towed by the craft.

Further information is available at: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2005/si/921/made/en/print

Firing Range Danger Area – Lough Ree

The attention of mariners is drawn to the Irish Defence Forces Firing Range situated in the vicinity of buoys No’s 2 and 3, on Lough Ree on the Shannon Navigation. This range is used regularly for live firing exercises, throughout the year, all boats and vessels should stay clear of the area marked with yellow buoys showing a yellow "X" topmark and displaying the word "Danger".

Shannon Navigation, Portumna Swing Bridge Tolls

No attempt should be made by Masters’ of vessels to pay the bridge toll while making way through the bridge opening. Payment will only be taken by the Collector from Masters when they are secured alongside the jetties north and south of the bridge.

Navigating from Killaloe to Limerick on the Shannon Navigation

The navigation from Killaloe to Limerick involves passage through Ardnacrusha locks, the associated headrace and tailrace and the Abbey River into Limerick City. Careful passage planning is required to undertake this voyage. Considerations include: lock passage at Ardnacrusha, water flow in the navigation, airdraft under bridges on Abbey River in Limerick, state of tide in Limerick

Users are advised to contact the ESB Ardnacrusha hydroelectric power station (00353 (0)87 9970131) 48 hours in advance of commencing their journey to book passage through the locks at Ardnacrusha. It is NOT advised to undertake a voyage if more than one turbine is operating (20MW), due to the increased velocity of flow in the navigation channel, which can be dangerous. To ascertain automatically in real time how many turbines are running, users can phone +353 (0)87 6477229.

For safety reasons the ESB has advised that only powered craft with a capacity in excess of 5 knots are allowed to enter Ardnacrusha Headrace and Tailrace Canals.

Passage through Sarsfield Lock should be booked on +353-87-7972998, on the day prior to travel and it should be noted also that transit is not possible two hours either side of low water.

A Hydrographic survey in 2020 of the navigation channel revealed that the approach from Shannon Bridge to Sarsfield Lock and the Dock area has silted up. Masters of vessels and water users are advised to navigate to the Lock from Shannon bridge on a rising tide one or two hours before High Tide.

Lower Bann Navigation

The attention of all users is drawn to the “Users Code for the Lower Bann”, in particular to that section covering “Flow in the River” outlining the dangers for users both on the banks and in the navigation, associated with high flow rates when the river is in spate. Canoeists should consult and carry a copy of the “Lower Bann Canoe Trail” guide issued by the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland. Users should also contact the DfI Rivers Coleraine, who is responsible for regulating the flow rates on the river, for advisory information on the flow rates to be expected on any given day.

DfI Rivers Coleraine. Tel: 0044 28 7034 2357 Email: [email protected]

Lower Bann Navigation – Newferry – No wake zone

A No Wake Zone exists on the Lower Bann Navigation at Newferry. Masters of vessels are requested to proceed at a slow speed and create no wake while passing the jetties and slipways at Newferry.

Overhead Power Lines (OHPL) and Air draft

All Masters must be aware of the dangers associated with overhead power lines, in particular sailing vessels and workboats with cranes or large air drafts. Voyage planning is a necessity in order to identify the location of overhead lines crossing the navigation.

Overhead power line heights on the River Shannon are maintained at 12.6metres (40 feet) from Normal Summer level for that section of navigation, masters of vessels with a large air draft should proceed with caution and make additional allowances when water levels are high.

If a vessel or its equipment comes into contact with an OHPL the operator should NOT attempt to move the vessel or equipment. The conductor may still be alive or re-energise automatically. Maintain a safe distance and prevent third parties from approaching due to risk of arcing. Contact the emergency services for assistance.

Anglers are also reminded that a minimum ground distance of 30 metres should be maintained from overhead power lines when using a rod and line.

Submarine Cables and Pipes

Masters of vessels are reminded not to anchor their vessels in the vicinity of submarine cables or pipes in case they foul their anchor or damage the cables or pipes. Look to the river banks for signage indicating their presence.

Water Levels - Precautions

Low Water Levels:

When water levels fall below normal summer levels masters should be aware of:

Navigation

To reduce the risk of grounding masters should navigate on or near the centreline of the channel, avoid short cutting in dog-legged channels and navigating too close to navigation markers.

Proceeding at a slow speed will also reduce “squat” effect i.e. where the vessel tends to sit lower in the water as a consequence of higher speed.

Slipways

Reduced slipway length available under the water surface and the possibility of launching trailers dropping off the end of the concrete apron.

More slipway surface susceptible to weed growth requiring care while engaged in launching boats, from slipping and sliding on the slope. Note also that launching vehicles may not be able to get sufficient traction on the slipway once the craft is launched to get up the incline.

Bank Erosion

Very dry riverbanks are more susceptible to erosion from vessel wash.

Lock Share

Maximising on the number of vessels in a lock will ensure that the total volume of water moving downstream is decreased. Lock cycles should be used for vessels travelling each way.

High Water Levels:

When water levels rise above normal summer level masters should be aware of:

Navigation

Navigation marks will have reduced height above the water level or may disappear underwater altogether making the navigable channel difficult to discern.

In narrow sections of the navigations water levels will tend to rise more quickly than in main streams and air draft at bridges will likewise be reduced.

There will also be increased flow rates particularly in the vicinity of navigation infrastructure such as bridges, weirs, locks etc where extra care in manoeuvring vessels will be required.

Harbours and Jetties

Due care is required in harbours and at slipways when levels are at or near the same level as the harbour walkways' as the edge will be difficult to discern especially in reduced light conditions. It is advised that Personal Flotation Devices be worn if tending to craft in a harbour in these conditions.

Slipways

Slipways should only be used for the purpose of launching and recovering of water craft or other objects from the water. Before using a slipway it should be examined to ensure that the surface has sufficient traction/grip for the intended purpose such as launching a craft from a trailer using a vehicle, that there is sufficient depth of water on the slipway to float the craft off the trailer before the concrete apron ends and that the wheels of the trailer do not drop off the edge of the slipway. That life-saving appliances are available in the vicinity, that the vehicle is roadworthy and capable of coping with the weight of the trailer and boat on the incline. It is recommended that slipway operations are conducted by two persons.

Caution to be Used in Reliance upon Aids to Navigation

The aids to navigation depicted on the navigation guides comprise a system of fixed and floating aids to navigation. Prudent mariners will not rely solely on any single aid to navigation, particularly a floating aid to navigation. With respect to buoys, the buoy symbol is used to indicate the approximate position of the buoy body and the ground tackle which secures it to the lake or river bed. The approximate position is used because of the practical limitations in positioning and maintaining buoys in precise geographical locations. These limitations include, but are not limited to, prevailing atmospheric and lake/river conditions, the slope of and the material making up the lake/river bed, the fact that the buoys are moored to varying lengths of chain, and the fact that the buoy body and/or ground tackle positions are not under continuous surveillance. Due to the forces of nature, the position of the buoy body can be expected to shift inside and outside the charted symbol.

Buoys and perches are also moved out of position or pulled over by those mariners who use them to moor up to instead of anchoring. To this end, mariners should always monitor their passage by relating buoy/perch positions with the published navigation guide. Furthermore, a vessel attempting to pass close by always risks collision with a yawing buoy or with the obstruction that the buoy or beacon/perch marks.

Masters of Vessels are requested to use the most up to date Navigation guides when navigating on the Inland Waterways.

Information taken from Special Marine Notice No 1 of 2023