Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Inland afloat headers


Displaying items by tag: Fishing

A guide to assist fishing skippers to meet landing obligation requirements has been published by the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA).

A waterproof copy of the guide has been posted to all vessel owners with an electronic logbook onboard. One guide will be delivered for each 12 metre and over vessel.

The guide was compiled with input from the SFPA consultative committee.

Discarding is a term specifically used for catches of species which are not kept but returned to the sea.

The “landing obligation” is the term used by the EU to put an end to the wasteful practice.

Under the landing obligation requirements, all catch subject to Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits must be retained, recorded, and landed, unless an exemption applies.

The SFPA’s guide offers detailed instructions on how discards can be recorded using ieCatch V3, the latest version of the Irish electronic logbook software.

Illustrated with step-by-step procedures, screenshots, and examples, it guides users through the process of logging a discard.

Welcoming the publication of the guide, SFPA executive chair Paschal Hayes said he was “encouraged that representatives from the Sea-Fisheries Protection Consultative Committee have partnered with the SFPA in the production and promotion of our Landing Obligation Exemptions Guide”.

“It is imperative for fishing vessel masters and owners to familiarise themselves with this guide to ensure accurate recording of discards and compliance with conditions for discarding under de minimis and high survivability,”Hayes said.

“Accurate reporting of discards plays a role in the sustainable management of our marine resources. The SFPA continues to ensure the implementation of the Landing Obligation through inspection, control activities and consultation with fishers, other control agencies and various stakeholders,”he said.

Sea-Fisheries Protection Consultative Committee chair Catherine McManus said the guide is “a practical example of the Consultative Committee, working with the SFPA”.

“ Promoting compliance with the Landing Obligation is important to ensure fishers are fully informed of their obligations and that the future sustainability of the sector is safeguarded. I want to thank my colleagues in the Consultative Committee who worked with the SFPA to progress this initiative,” McManus said.

The guide is accessible here

Published in SFPA
Tagged under

A group of Kerry secondary school students are participating in a presentation by inshore fishermen on the crisis in the sector, which will be delivered to Government TDs and senators on Wednesday (Feb 28).

The National Inshore Fishermen’s Association (NIFA) has been invited to outline the situation of its members to TDs and senators via the audio-visual room.

Shellfish markets have collapsed, margins have tightened, there are new restrictions on catching pollack, and many boats have had no earnings for the past two months.

Transition year students from Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine in Kenmare have been working on a campaign for the ECO Unesco Young Environmentalist Awards (YEA), and have selected the issue of the impact of inshore trawling by boats over 18 metres in length.

They believe the fishing for sprat by larger vessels to provide fishmeal for farmed salmon is having a negative impact on stocks targeted by smaller inshore vessels.

The all-Ireland environmental awards programme recognises and rewards young people who raise environmental awareness and improve the environment.

Environmental scientist Rachel Hawker, who has been working with the TY students, said they held a workshop in Kenmare earlier in the month which some members of NIFA attended.

Following this, NIFA invited the students to present on the situation in Kenmare at the meeting in the Dail on Wednesday.

Hawker explains that the students found that the trawling by large boats in the Kenmare Bay area is “directly relevant their chosen themes of the Eco UNESCO Young Environmentalist Award, including biodiversity and marine life and the impact of removing sprat”.

The students also believe it has a negative impact on food supplies, citing the statistic that it takes five kilo of sprat to produce one kilo of farmed salmon.

Earlier this month, Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue initiated a public consultation on fishing with trawls inside the six nautical mile zone and the baselines.

As Afloat has reported, NIFA has already highlighted its situation before an Oireachtas committee.

The Government’s failure to implement a national inshore fishing strategy drawn up by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has been disastrous for the sector, the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and Marine was told in January.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

The Dingle Peninsula's fishing community takes centre stage in a new maritime television series set to air on TG4.

The show, which begins on Tuesday, March 5th at 7.30 pm, follows the lives of the locals as they carry out their work over the fishing season from March to October.

The series explores the strong fishing culture of the area, which has been passed down from generation to generation. Despite the challenges posed by the weather and government regulations, many continue to make their livelihoods from the sea. Viewers will get a chance to meet the fishing community of Corca Dhuibhne, their families, and their community.

In the first programme, the audience meets Éamonn Ó Corcara from Bréanainn, who is seen fishing for oysters during the last day of the season. Eddie Moore and his son Cathal from Dingle are also featured, as they work to refurbish their boat and prepare for their return home from Limerick. In addition, Chef Aoife Ní Chiobháin from Na Gorta Dubha discusses her search for fresh local fish, while long-established company Iasc Uí Chatháin has a new project in the works.

Aoife Niė Chiobhaėin from Na Gorta Dubha Aoife Niė Chiobhaėin from Na Gorta Dubha 

The second show follows the crew of the Kate Marie as they fish for crabs and lobsters. The Iasc Uí Catháin team can be seen putting the finishing touches on a new tourist attraction, located on the site of the old fish processing factory, which was once a major employer in the area. Caitlín de Mórdha from Na Gorta Dubhai is waiting for the crew of the Misty Dawn to return home, while Eoin Firtéar from Com Dhíneol is doing his best to complete work on his new boat, the Órla Méabh.

Caitlín de Mórdha from Na Gorta DubhaiCaitlín de Mórdha from Na Gorta Dubhai

Viewers are introduced to Kevin Granville from Dingle in episode three, where he skippers the Virtuous, which is full of prawns. The show also features Áine Uí Laoithe from Dún Chaoin, an expert on the rich song tradition associated with the seas around West Kerry. The Dingle regatta is blessed with a weekend of sunshine, and the crew of the Kate-Marie bring crabs into Ballydavid pier in the pouring rain.

Áine Uí Laoithe from Dún ChaoinÁine Uí Laoithe from Dún Chaoin

The final episode introduces viewers to the fisherman Maidhc Ó Mainín from An Baile Íochtarach, who is using his experience at sea for a new venture. Alec Ó Cíobháin from An Muiríoch shares his side of the story during the illegal salmon fishing era around Bally David, and the net making tradition is going strong with Edward Mac Gearailt from Baile Dháith.

Maidhc Ó Mainín from An Baile ÍochtarachMaidhc Ó Mainín from An Baile Íochtarach

As the peninsula's community prepares for the Dingle Food Festival, viewers will have to wait and see what becomes of Eoin Firtéar from Com Dhíneol, as he hopes to launch his new boat. Join us and experience the ups and downs of life at sea with the working crew of the sea.

Published in Maritime TV

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D has launched Ireland's National Seafood Development Programme under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund 2012-2027 (EMFAF).

The programme, which had multiple stakeholder consultations and environmental assessments, secured funding of €258.4 million for the new programme, an increase in funding over the previous EMFF Programme 2014-2020.

The new programme builds on the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) Schemes and provides for additional, longer-term supports to enable the seafood sector to engage in transformational change and for coastal communities to thrive.

The Programme envisages support for capital investment both on board and ashore, relating to landing obligations, innovation in fishing gear and methods, technical advice to the fleet, acquisition of the first vessel by young fishers, support to the inshore fleet, training and marketing.

The Minister explored the details of the Programme and met with the EMFAF Monitoring Committee members to discuss the strategic objectives of the EMFAF fund.

The launch took place at the annual Skipper Expo in Limerick in the presence of the EMFAF Monitoring Committee.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

An Oireachtas committee is to hear the case of the Arklow fisherman who discovered serious stability issues with a Dutch-built trawler and was left with debts of 1 million euro.

The Joint Committee on Public Petitions and the Ombudsmen meets today (Thurs 22) to discuss the experience of CJ Gaffney, owner of the former vessel Mary Kate.

The issue is listed as Public Petition Number P00012/23 on “Justice and Safety”, and will hear from Gaffney as petitioner.

It will also hear from Mary Bertelsen, campaigner and concerned citizen on people’s rights; Jakob Pinkster, stability and ship building expert; and Justin Delaney, stability expert.

Committee cathaoirleach and Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne said the petition relates to Gaffney’s “long campaign for compensation following his purchase in 2007 of a Dutch-built, German-registered trawler, which was then registered in Ireland and later found to be unstable and unsafe”,

“The committee welcomes Mr Gaffney and his supporting witnesses and looks forward to discussing his case, which has clearly had a considerable impact on him, his family and his business,”Browne said.

As Afloat has previously reported, Gaffney tried to take legal action in both the Netherlands and Germany after he discovered the stability issues, took out a loan to cover fixing the vessel and then had to surrender it to the bank in 2012.

He sought EU funds in compensation, but the EU said it was up to the national state. The vessel was broken up in New Ross, Co Wexford last year under the Government’s decommissioning scheme.

Gaffney maintains that questions need to be asked at both national level and EU level as to how the beam trawler was issued with a stamped stability book from a renowned international classification society.

He says questions should be asked as to how a valid ship sailing permit was issued when it had 20 tonnes of unaccounted steel present since new build, and how the case was handled after various authorities had been notified of this.

The Oireachtas committee will also discuss a number of other petitions from members of the public.

The Joint Committee on Public Petitions and the Ombudsmen is a standing committee of the Houses of the Oireachtas and has 11 members, seven from the Dáil and four from the Seanad.

It will meet on Thursday February 22nd at 1.30pm in Committee Room 1 of Leinster House.

The meeting in the Committee Room 1 can be viewed live on Oireachtas TV.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

Inshore fishermen are due to state their case about the crisis experienced by their members to TDs and senators later this month (Feb).

Members of the Dáil and Seanad have been invited to hear the delegation from the National Inshore Fishermen’s Association (NIFA) speaking to the chamber via the audio-visual room on February 28th.

NIFA spokesman Michael Desmond said that members have already outlined the serious difficulties in the sector in a presentation to an Oireachtas joint committee last month.

The Government’s failure to implement a national inshore fishing strategy drawn up by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has been disastrous for the sector, the 14 members of Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, food and Marine were told.

NIFA outlined how shellfish markets have collapsed, margins have tightened, there are new restrictions on catching pollack, and many boats have had no earnings for the past two months.

The NIFA delegation was led by Michael Desmond, accompanied by board members John Menarry and Eamon Dixon.

Their presentation at a full parliamentary hearing comes just several weeks after a new public consultation on a proposed six-mile ban by Irish marine minister Charlie McConalogue was opened.

It is the second such public consultation on the issue- a previous transition to a ban on trawling inside six nautical miles for vessels over 18 metres was overturned by a legal challenge.

NIFA represents over 200 Irish inshore vessels, with 150 members extending from Donegal to Cork and Kerry.

The association was recognised as an EU seafood producer organisation in January 2023.

Published in Fishing

Ireland's six state-owned Fishery Harbour Centres are set to receive a boost from the government, with almost €29.7m allocated for capital projects in 2024. Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D confirmed the news today, stating that these centres are crucial infrastructure for Ireland's seafood industry, with approximately 87% of all fish landings in Ireland passing through these facilities. 

The investment will be used to develop first-class landing infrastructure, where a modern seafood industry can operate effectively and efficiently, providing maximum opportunities for primary and secondary processing of seafood in Ireland. The funding will also help to provide a strong Irish seafood processing industry to service the fishing fleet and maintain coastal communities.

The Fishery Harbour Centres accommodate diverse marine commercial business, including commercial cargo traffic, cruise liners, restaurants and other leisure, tourism and social activities, which complement the critical economic activity generated by Ireland's fishing industry.

The Deep-water Quay project at Ros an Mhíl, which will receive €17m in 2024, continues to be a priority project and is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2025. Meanwhile, the Smooth Point pier extension at Killybegs will be concluded in the coming months with €3.25m being invested in 2024. At Castletownbere, maintenance of the Mainland Quay will receive €575k in 2024 and will be phased as a multi-annual project with further investment in subsequent years.

Killybegs Harbour in County Donegal Photo Clive WassonKillybegs Harbour in County Donegal Photo Clive Wasson

The government has invested heavily in the Department-managed facilities since 2020, with a combined investment of €116m, including €41.5m spent in 2023. Bord Iascaigh Mhara has valued the GDP of Ireland's seafood industry at €1.3 billion, highlighting the importance of primary and secondary food production activities.

Minister McConalogue noted that a key objective for the seafood sector is to continue on a path of sustainable economic and environmental development by carefully managing the utilization of sea-fisheries and aquaculture. The continued investment in the sector underpins the government's commitment to the industry, with the €29.7million being expended this year helping to progress major infrastructure delivery and underpin climate resilience and the further development of Ireland's Blue Economy.

In addition to infrastructure development, the government's commitment to supporting environmental and sustainability objectives is demonstrated through several important projects planned under this year's programme, including renewable energy upgrades on buildings and water metering to monitor resource consumption.

Fishery Harbour Centres and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme 2024

Fishery Harbour Centres and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme 2024

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has recommended that the Minister for Transport should consider introducing regulations specific to the installation and operation of articulated hydraulic deck cranes on fishing vessels.

The MCIB recommendation is one of a number issued in its report inquiring into a crush injury sustained by a crewman on board a fishing vessel off the Cork coast in November 2021.

Recommendations in relation to risk assessments, safety legislation, hazard warnings and training for use of articulated deck cranes are also published in the report.

The incident occurred on board the 21 metre-long fishing vessel Aquila which was fishing south of the Kinsale gas rigs on November 7th, 2021.

The vessel with five crew onboard had left the fishing port of Union Hall, Co Cork, the night before. Wind at the time was force three, westerly, with a moderate sea.

The wooden twin trawler was rigged for Danish seine net fishing

As the report states, “at approximately 12.00 hrs on the 7th November, the fishing vessel was at the fishing grounds and the crew were hauling the second haul of the day using the vessel’s net handling crane”.

It says that the crane’s hydraulic system “experienced a sudden loss of hydraulic oil pressure, causing the crane’s jib and power head to uncontrollably lower inboard trapping a crew member between the power head and the underside of the deck supporting the net drum”.

The crewman, who is from the Philippines and had been on the crew for two years, suffered crush injuries.

The vessel’s skipper contacted the Cork Coast Guard Radio (CGR) by VHF radio at 12.38 hrs, advising it of the incident and requesting a medical evacuation of the injured crewman.

It says that at approximately 15.00 hrs, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter R115 from Shannon airlifted the injured man ashore to Cork University Hospital (CUH) for medical attention.

The man was discharged from CUH on November 8th, and was passed fit to fly home. He returned to the Philippines to recover.

It says he recuperated, and has since returned to work as a fisher onboard an Irish registered fishing vessel.

More details are in the MCIB report here

Published in MCIB

Tributes have been paid to the late Professor Ray Bates, a leading Irish and international meteorologist who was from a well-known Co Wexford family involved in fishing and marine science.

Met Éireann has said he was a pioneer in several fields, and a “respected and influential voice in the scientific community”.

As The Sunday Independent reports, he had spearheaded new models for computer forecasting systems which won him an award from US space agency NASA.

A former assistant director at Met Éireann, who subsequently worked at NASA, Denmark’s Niels Bohr Institute and University College, Dublin (UCD), he latterly encountered opposition from scientists and climate activists over his challenge to the consensus view on the level of threat posed by climate change.

The eldest of eight, he was born in Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford, 1940, to fishing skipper Willie Bates and Margaret Alice Walsh. His siblings became immersed in fishing, marine science and the offshore sectors, while he studied physics, after winning a gold medal from St Peter’s College in Wexford.

He graduated from UCD in 1962 with a first class honours, having worked with his father on lobster fishing and taking visitors to the Great Saltee island bird sanctuary during his summer breaks from college.

After a short period with the Irish Sugar Company, he worked as a forecaster at Shannon Airport with the Irish Meteorological Service --- now Met Éireann. He took a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which he was awarded in 1969.

His MIT supervisor was the renowned meteorologist, Jule G Charney, one of the first to use computer forecasting. Through is contact with Serbian-American and Canadian meteorologists Fedor Mesinger and André Robert, Bates helped to develop new forecasting models, including a technique called Lagrangian integration.

Met Éireann was the first weather service to make use of this method, now central to forecasting in many national weather services.

During the 1970s, Ray worked with the Egyptian Meteorological Institute, and the World Meteorological Organisation, and in 1987 he was appointed senior scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in the US.

In 1994, NASA conferred him with an award for his “leadership and pioneering work” with the semi-Lagrangian models of forecasting.

He and his wife Zaira moved to Denmark in 1995 where he became professor of meteorology at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen until his retirement in 2004. After Zaira died of cancer he returned to UCD as an adjunct professor of meteorology, and continued research there and with the Royal Irish Academy (RIA).

He chaired the RIA’s Climate Change Sciences Committee from 2009-2013, and was a member of the RIA’s Climate Change and Environmental Sciences Committee from 2014-18. He was awarded the Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2009.

He set up the Irish Meteorological Society, and served as its president from 2004 to 2008. He and his second wife, Natasha, spent more time in Wexford where he bought a sailing craft with his brother, Dick, he was a founder member of the Kilmore Quay Boat Club.

His colleague, Dr Peter Lynch of UCD’s school of mathematics and statistics, said at his funeral that Bates had published several important papers on the theory and modelling of the global climate and “everything he said or wrote was based on meticulous, unbiased analysis”.

His work on climate sensitivity and climate feedback proved controversial as he questioned the scientific rigour of one of the special reports released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relating to global warming in 2018.

Writing in The Farmers’ Journal, Bates said the IPCC report ignored “important scientific evidence” gathered since 2013 “which reduces the sense of a looming emergency”, and said the Citizens’ Assembly had not received impartial scientific advice when it looked at how Ireland should respond to climate change.

He did not deny that the climate was changing, stating that “reasonable precautionary measures to reduce emissions should be taken on the basis of risk, but it does not require that we seriously damage our economy or bring our traditional way of life to an end in the process”.

Having helped to form the Irish Climate Science Forum, he subsequently withdrew from it .

Prof Lynch described Bates as a man of great integrity, and noted that while criticism of his views, “ not all of which was civil or scientifically justified”, caused him some distress, “it is beyond doubt that his work was of the highest scientific standard, and continues to merit serious consideration”.

Met Éireann said he was “a distinguished meteorologist and climate scientist and a pioneer in the fields of atmospheric dynamics and numerical weather prediction (NWP).

It said he “made significant contributions to the understanding of the dynamics and thermodynamics of the atmosphere and played a crucial role in developing NWP for operational weather forecasting”.

“He was a respected and influential voice in the scientific community, as well as a mentor and friend to many colleagues and students,” Met Éireann said, and it noted that “his rigour, commitment and passion were instrumental to advance weather and climate science and will always be remembered”.

Read The Sunday Independent here

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

Irish fishing industry organisations have called on Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue and his officials to “come clean” on the exact nature of talks between the EU and Iceland on fisheries.

In a joint statement, the Irish Fish Producers’ Organisation (IFPO) and Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA) say they are “extremely concerned” about what they describe as “secretive EU talks with Iceland”.

The Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation (IS&WFPO) has separately called on McConalogue to give a “public assurance” that the informal talks between the EU Commission and Iceland on access to Irish waters are “not up for discussion” at an EU council of fisheries ministers on Tuesday (Jan 23).

“There’s a genuine fear that the negotiations may be close to a deal granting Iceland valuable access to our rich waters - without our input or adequate consultation,” IFPO chief executive Aodh O’Donnell said.

“Why would the minister agree to give Iceland access to our waters when there is almost nothing in the deal for Ireland’s fishing industry,” he said.

“ This is a colossal and embarrassing failure of negotiating skills. The sector is already suffering from the loss of 26% of our mackerel quota to the UK in the disastrous Brexit deal. So, why not use access deals - like this one - to seek a rebalancing of Ireland’s quota to address these losses fully?” he said.

The IFPO said the minister is describing the EU-Iceland talks as “informal” but had “failed to confirm if agreement has been reached already”.

“The fishing industry struggles to understand Ireland’s weak negotiating stance at EU level. We need a government that fights for our industry in the national interest, the way other EU member states do,” O’Donnell said.

“The EU Common Fisheries Policy has failed Irish fishing communities and deals like this are simply adding insult to injury.”

“Iceland has been a main driver in unsustainable fisheries for mackerel and blue whiting in the North-east Atlantic. They have a record of fixing inflated quotas and building new vessels to expand their catches. At the same time, Ireland is forced to decommission our whitefish fleet and downsize because of reductions in our allowable catch,”he said.

“The Irish blue whiting quota is worth around €15 million for 2024,” O’Donnell said.

“If this new deal goes ahead, Iceland can catch almost the same amount of blue whiting in Irish waters as we do. They have a population of less than 380,000 compared to our population of over 5.2m. They are not an EU member. How is this a fair deal?”

“The heart of the matter is that the EU is effectively using our EU waters to get better deals for other EU and non-EU states at Ireland’s expense,”O’Donnell said, describing it as “both unbelievable and outrageous”.

IFPEA chief executive Brendan Byrne said that “we fail to understand why our minister and his officials are negotiating an agenda driven by the EU Commission. This agenda is not in Ireland’s interest but benefits Iceland as a non-EU member. Have we not learnt any lessons from the past?” 

The volume of Ireland’s pelagic fish exports dropped by 45% last year, according to the latest Bord Bia report, Byrne noted.

“That represents a fall of an estimated 31% in the value of these exports – a loss of €56m to the Irish economy in one year alone,”he said.

IS&WFPO chief executive Patrick Murphy echoed concerns about the Iceland talks.

He also said that he was told by McConalogue last week that recent media reports about a Danish offer of 6,000 tonnes of mackerel to Ireland had “been unhelpful” in the context of Commission talks on Iceland’s access.

As Afloat report, the Danish fisheries minister made the offer in writing to McConalogue last September as a temporary solution during an ongoing dispute over mackerel. The offer was not taken up by Ireland.

Murphy said he had clearly expressed his views on the Danish offer to McConalogue, during an online meeting with him on January 17th, and had “voiced his astonishment as to why, during the many recent meetings with the minister, the existence of this [Danish] letter was not disclosed”.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under
Page 1 of 79

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: 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:

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:

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 :

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 :

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.


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 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:

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:


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.


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 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 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