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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is inviting expressions of interest from suitably qualified individuals to become or continue to be members of Fishery District Committees.

The Fishery Districts where commercial fisheries exist comprise Lismore, Cork, Kerry (SWRBD), Ballinakill (WRBD Galway), Bangor (WRBD Ballina) and Letterkenny (NWRBD).

The individuals shall be representative of one of the following groups/sectors:

  • Commercial salmon fishermen (draft net or snap net where appropriate)
  • Rated occupiers of fisheries
  • Salmon rod representatives

The primary purpose of a Fishery District Committee is to recommend the allocation of the available salmon surplus as identified by the Technical Expert Group on Salmon between the commercial and recreational sectors for those fisheries which have a surplus.

There will be one meeting per year (March/April). Expenses will not be paid.

Applicants will be assessed for suitability based on the application received and may or may not be selected to serve on the committee.

It is anticipated that this call for expressions of interest will be for the five-year period from 2024 to 2028.

Applications may be made until 5pm on Friday 8 March and further details, including how to apply, can be found on the IFI website.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) chief executive Francis O’Donnell addressed the Oireachtas on Tuesday (13 February) on the State body’s programme to mitigate barriers to fish passage on Irish rivers.

“Migratory species such as Atlantic salmon, sea trout, sea lamprey, river lamprey, twaite and allis shad and European eel all make long migratory journeys to reproduce,” O’Donnell said. “However, a range of other fish, such as pike, brown trout and bream, live entirely in fresh water but make extended movements along the river system for feeding or to access spawning and nursery areas.

“Any restrictions to fish migrations may have negative consequences for their habitat use, reproductive or feeding capacity and could lead to long-term declines in their population.”

O’Donnell noted that barriers to fish passage run from “small structures such as bridge floors, culverts, sluices to larger structures such as weirs and dams”. These can impact on natural river processes, affecting temperature, flow rate and sediment transport.

IFI is mapping the extent of barriers nationwide, with more than 73,000 potential barriers identified and nearly half of these assessed.

“Of those assessed as a problem, 233 have had follow-up surveys…[which] are required before any mitigation work can be carried out,” O’Donnell said.

IFI’s National Barriers Programme (NBP), developed with the support of two Government departments, runs until 2027 with the aim of addressing water-quality pressures with mitigation works.

“The NBP has estimated that there are potentially 8,500 culverts/bridges, 1,500 weirs and 160 other structures in Irish rivers that represent a barrier to fish passage,” O’Donnell said. “Over the life of the NBP…it is expected that 257 barriers will be mitigated.”

IFI is currently working on improving fish passage at Bretts Weir on the River Nore in Co Kilkenny; Bakery Weir on the River Suir in Cahir, Co Tipperary; Pallas Weir on the River Bann; and the Dalligan Weir on the River Dalligan in Co Waterford.

Those pilot schemes are along with works at Annacotty Weir and Askeaton Weir in Co Limerick, Templederry Bridge in Co Tipperary, Castlecor Weir fish passage in Co Meath, and Bishops Stream in Co Roscommon.

In addition, O’Donnell said IFI is working with the likes of the ESB to understand the impacts of hydroelectricity on migrating salmon and eels, noting that “large barriers on the Erne, Liffey and Shannon systems have brought those populations to near extinction”.

O’Donnell concluded: “Unfortunately, the European eel numbers across Europe have been decimated and Atlantic salmon numbers returning to Ireland compared to the 1970s have been reduced by 80 per cent. The trend is getting worse and there is now a need to really deal with barriers and find solutions if we are going to save two wonders of nature that undertake what is a most amazing migratory journey in the natural world.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is seeking submissions in relation to a proposal to restrict the commercial salmon draft net season on the Loughros Estuary (Owenea/Owentocker) in Co Donegal in 2024 to fishing between 1 and 21 July.

The proposed changes, along the lines of previous consultations, are to reflect the limited overall salmon quota available for 2024 and the number of commercial draft nets available.

An overall surplus of 304 salmon has been advised for 2024 to be divided between the commercial draft net and recreational angling sectors.

The commercial draft net season for the fishery normally opens on 12 May and closes on 31 July.

A copy of the draft proposed bye-law is available for public inspection at the IFI offices in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal. It can also be downloaded from the IFI website.

Any person wishing to make observations on the proposed regulation may make submissions before 5pm on Thursday 29 February, either by e-mail to [email protected] or to the address below:

Loughros Estuary Commercial Salmon Draft Net Fishing Season 2024 Public Consultation,
Inland Fisheries Ireland,
Station Road,
Ballyshannon,
Co Donegal F94 WV76

Published in Fishing

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has opened the first draw for anglers wishing to catch and keep salmon from Kerry’s Roughty River.

‘Brown tag’ regulations come into force on the river from 15 March and will remain in place until the last day of September, when the salmon fishing season ends.

Commenting on the requirements, Sean Long, South-Western River Basin District director at IFI said: “The numbers of wild Atlantic salmon returning to our rivers is declining. The risk of over-fishing puts stocks in further jeopardy.

“Brown tag measures for salmon and sea trout are required on the Roughty River to conserve stocks and avoid accidental over-harvesting.

“Where there is a modest harvestable surplus with a risk of over exploitation, this brown gill tag system is introduced to closely monitor the angling quotas.”

A total of 96 brown tags will be available. They will be distributed to anglers with a rod licence via four draws through the 2024 angling season.

Up to a quarter of the available number of brown tags can be issued at one time. Therefore, 24 brown tags will be selected through the first online lottery on Tuesday 27 February.

The measures are part of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2023, recently signed into law by Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan.

Interested anglers can apply for the first draw until Sunday 25 February.

Successful anglers who receive the tags via the lottery system must place them on the fish along with a blue tag as proof it was lawfully caught and may be retained for private use.

Anglers not allocated a brown tag are permitted to fish for salmon on a catch-and-release basis on the Roughty River, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody, using single or double barbless hooks only. Use of worms as bait is not permitted.

Published in Angling

The new chair of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is to meet members of the Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action in Leinster House, Dublin, today (Tues Feb 6).

Prof Tom Collins is heading a new IFI board. He was appointed by the Government on the recommendation of the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, in December 2023.

The Oireachtas joint committee Cathaoirleach, Green Party TD Brian Leddin, said that “IFI is the environmental agency responsible for protecting, managing and conserving Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources”.

“The committee welcomes this early engagement with Professor Collins and looks forward to discussing the role of the chairperson, his strategic vision for the agency, and the future contributions of IFI and the board,” he said.

The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action has 14 Members, nine from the Dáil and five from the Seanad.

The meeting opened at 11 am in Committee Room 3 of Leinster House. and 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 News Update

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched a new national recruitment drive to hire 52 temporary staff.

IFI’s seasonal fisheries officers and seasonal fisheries assistants are to be deployed across 15 counties from April to September.

Starting salaries of €29,053 per annum pro rata are on offer, and fisheries officers can also earn up to €3,639 extra via an unsocial hours allowance.

Barry Fox, head of operations at IFI, commented: “As a key State environmental agency, enforcement of the law regarding illegal fishing, pollution and habitat destruction are a key focus for Inland Fisheries Ireland.

“We require additional temporary contract staff to support our busy annual programme of work on Ireland’s rivers, lakes and coastlines.

Research is among the duties of IFI’s seasonal fisheries assistants | Credit: IFIResearch is among the duties of IFI’s seasonal fisheries assistants | Credit: IFI

“We are seeking male and female seasonal fisheries officers from diverse backgrounds for a six-month period.

“People who enjoy nature and working outdoors, in all types of weather, are likely to find these jobs very appealing and rewarding.”

Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of research and development at IFI, added: “Our seasonal fisheries assistants will conduct applied research of fish stocks, and explore environmental issues that impact on fish and their habitats.

“They will work with an experienced team of scientists and researchers in the collection, ordering and analysis of relevant biological and physical data in the aquatic environment. The roles will be mainly based at IFI’s headquarters in Citywest, Dublin.”

Those interested in IFI’s seasonal vacancies can see more information and application details on the IFI website HERE, or email [email protected] for more details.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) investigated a serious fish kill incident that occurred on 3 September 2021 at the Glore River in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

IFI’s investigation led to the instigation of legal proceedings against Uisce Éireann and court procedures concluded on Thursday 4 January.

Uisce Éireann, formerly Irish Water, has accepted liability for the fish kill, resulting from a chemical spill at the Kiltimagh Water Treatment Plant.

A senior fisheries environmental Officer has inspected the treatment plant on several occasions since the fish kill.

Following an onsite meeting on 8 October 2022, a number of recommendations were made to Uisce Éireann to reduce the risk of future spills at the Kiltimagh Water Treatment Plant.

Uisce Éireann were fully supportive and these measures have now been implemented.

IFI, the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, says it will continue to inspect the plant to ensure that all recommendations have been followed.

Further to these preventative measures, Uisce Éireann has paid costs and a financial contribution of €15,000 to go towards research for habitat enhancement.

This will be used to identify the potential for a habitat restoration project in the upper Glore River and some of its tributaries.

This project will include a detailed survey of the Glore and possibly some adjacent sub-catchments, which will provide an analysis of current river and riparian habitat quality.

Where deficiencies are identified, appropriate amelioration works will be proposed to aid in the recovery of salmon stocks in the Glore River area.

Published in Angling

A survey of Lough Sheelin anglers has found that 94 per cent are now releasing more of the trout they catch back into Lough Sheelin than they did when they started fishing.

The Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) research involved 132 participants, and more than half of these had over 25 years’ experience fishing for wild brown trout in the lake, which borders counties Cavan, Meath and Westmeath and attracts anglers nationwide and internationally.

Catch-and-release methods ensure that trout stock have a greater chance of survival within the freshwater lake.

Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of research and development at IFI, said: “The trends, over the four decades studied in the research, were mostly positive regarding the abundance and size of trout in the lake and its ecosystem.

“Respondents commented they now believe the lake is currently fishing well.

“However, some expressed concerns about threats to Lough Sheelin’s trout stocks, including pollution, pressure from angling activity, poor water quality and protection of fish.

Shore angling at Lough Sheelin | Credit: IFIShore angling at Lough Sheelin | Credit: IFI

This research highlights the growth in awareness of fish conservation among anglers.

“Seasoned fishers on Lough Sheelin have a deep understanding of the lake’s surrounding ecology that’s been developed through long-term interactions with the natural environment.”

The research used a method developed by IFI called Fishers’ Local Ecological Knowledge Surveillance Indicators (FLEKSI).

It is designed to track environmental impacts and changes in fish stocks through local information sources by asking anglers about different aspects of the fishery now, compared to when they started fishing on the lake.

Engaging Ireland’s anglers as citizen scientists is now an important element of research programmes at IFI, Dr Gallagher said.

“Their very important contribution can help us to fill gaps in knowledge about the history of fisheries, and to develop sound, evidence-based management strategies,” he added.

Researchers at IFI have expressed their thanks to all local anglers who participated, and to the Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association.

The survey findings are available to download HERE.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has secured convictions against two men for illegal salmon angling on the River Slaney in Co Carlow.

The men were each charged with using an illegal method for salmon fishing and failing to produce a licence over the incident in the townland of Kildavin on 15 May 2023.

Dylan Byrne from Hacketstown, Co Carlow, was instructed to pay €700 in fines, and €500 in legal costs. He was also charged with obstruction or impediment of a fisheries officer.

Conor Kavanagh from Carnew, Co Wicklow was fined €350, and directed to pay €500 in legal costs.

The case was heard at Carlow District Court on 7 December 2023.

Commenting after the court verdict, Lynda Connor, South Eastern River Basin District director at IFI said: “The protection of the River Slaney is extremely important to sustain a viable population of wild salmon.

“Illegal angling puts further pressure on this exceptionally vulnerable fish. I commend our fisheries protection officers for their unwavering commitment in protecting this wonderful species.”

IFI encourages members of the public to report illegal fishing incidents, and those of water pollution, fish kills and habitat destruction, to its 24/7 phone number at 0818 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has opened the first draw for anglers wishing to catch and keep salmon from Cork’s Lower River Lee.

‘Brown tag’ regulations come into force on the river from 1 Thursday 1 February and will remain in place until 30 September 2024 when the salmon fishing season ends.

Commenting on the requirements, Sean Long, South-Western River Basin District director at IFI said: “The numbers of wild Atlantic salmon returning to our rivers is declining. The risk of overfishing puts stocks in further jeopardy.

“Brown tag regulations for salmon and sea trout are required on the Lower River Lee to conserve stocks and avoid accidental over-harvesting.

“Where there is a modest harvestable surplus with a risk of over-exploitation, this brown gill tag system is introduced to closely monitor the angling quotas.”

Successful anglers who receive the tags, via a lottery system, place them on the fish, along with a blue tag as proof it was lawfully caught and may be retained for private use.

A total of 218 brown tags will be available. They will be distributed to anglers with a 2024 rod licence via four draws through the 2024 angling season.

Up to a quarter of the available number of brown tags can be issued at one time. Therefore, 55 brown tags will be selected through the first online lottery on Friday 26 January. Interested anglers can apply for the first draw between now and Wednesday 24 January only.

The measures are part of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2023, recently signed into law by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan.

Anglers not allocated a brown tag are permitted to fish for salmon on a catch-and-release basis on the Lower River Lee, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody. 

Anglers must use catch-and-release methods only, involving single or double barbless hooks. Use of worms as bait is not permitted.

Published in Angling
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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