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Displaying items by tag: Lough Derg

Cyclists will ‘Lap the Lake’ for the third year running to raise funds for Lough Derg RNLI on Saturday 11 May.

With Lough Derg RNLI marking 20 years of lifeboat service on the lake in the same year that the charity that saves lives at sea celebrates its bicentenary, the 2024 fundraiser will be a doubly special occasion.

As with the 2023 event, cyclists may again choose between a 120km route or a shorter 65km one.

The longer route will take participants on a full circuit of Lough Derg, giving entrants the chance to cycle through three counties: Tipperary, Clare and Galway. The shorter route will take cyclists to just beyond Killaloe, to a turnaround point at the Twomilegate lakeside amenity park.

Whichever route riders chose, they will have the opportunity to delight in the outstanding beauty of the lake and the River Shannon.

Riders’ safety and well-being is also a priority, with first-aid providers, out-riders, marshals and bike maintenance stops along the routes, as well as comfort and refreshment stations.

“We were thrilled with the success of the previous two years’ Lap the Lake cycle,” said Laura Clarke, chair of the event committee. “We were blessed with fine weather so that cyclists were able to enjoy the most breathtaking scenery around the lake.

“2024 is a particularly special year for the RNLI as the charity marks 200 years of lifesaving work. This event, now open for registration, is about raising funds for our local lifeboat on Lough Derg, which celebrates 20 years of service.”

Event tickets are €65 per person for the full route and €50 for the shorter route. All funds raised will go to Lough Derg RNLI. To find out more and to book your place among the riders this year, visit the Eventbrite page HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

On Saturday 30 December, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to launch to investigate whether anyone was in trouble aboard a 20ft cruiser reported aground west of Garrykennedy Harbour.

At 3.30pm the inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Eleanor Hooker, crew Chris Parker and Joe O’Donoghue on board. The wind was southerly Force 5, gusting Force 7, with fair visibility but heavy squalls.

Eleven minutes later, the lifeboat located the casualty vessel midway between Garrykennedy Harbour and Parker’s Point.

The lifeboat navigated a safe passage to the vessel, which was grounded on rocks close to the shore. An RNLI volunteer went aboard the vessel to determine whether there was anyone on board and in need of assistance, but found the vessel was empty. The RNLI crew located the boat’s registration so that Valentia Coast Guard could make contact with the owner.

Given the location and the deteriorating weather conditions, the helm made the decision to make the vessel safe, deploy its anchor, secure its canopy and leave it at the location. The lifeboat helm informed Valentia Coast Guard of this decision.

Lifeboat helm Eleanor Hooker advises boat users “to check the mooring lines on your vessel to ensure they are secure, particularly in anticipation of poor weather conditions”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Volunteers representing Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station were honoured with a scroll and a cheque for €500 at the annual Nenagh Municipal District Awards on Monday evening (20 November) in recognition of their volunteer work on Lough Derg.

The award, presented by Cllr John ‘Rocky’ McGrath, Cathaoirleach of the Nenagh Municipal District Tipperary Council Council, was in recognition of the volunteers “dedication and commitment to saving lives and their spirit of volunteerism in contributing of their time and efforts to enhance water safety on Lough Derg”.

The Lough Derg volunteers offered their grateful thanks to Rosemary Joyce, district administrator of Nenagh Municipal District and her team for their warm welcome and hospitality at the Civic Offices in Nenagh on Monday evening.

“Our heartiest congratulations too to the local communities, organisations and individuals who also received awards for their volunteer work,” they added,

Eleanor Hooker, helm and lifeboat press officer said it was a “tremendous honour for volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station to receive this award in recognition of the team’s lifesaving work and water safety programmes on Lough Derg”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A community page for Mountshannon is looking to find a good home for an impressive model boat found on Lough Derg over the summer.

As of Monday afternoon (20 November) no one had yet come forward to claim the model of a period battleship.

The person who found it is now looking to rehome it, and all enquiries can be directed to the Facebook page HERE.

Published in Model Boats
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Squib National Champions Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan from Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough are among 33 class entries that will compete this weekend at Lough Derg Yacht Club's Freshwater Keelboat Regatta in County Tipperary.

Other entries include six Dragons, eight Flying Fifteens and eight SB20s.

The local Squib fleet at LDYC and at neighbouring Iniscealthra Sailing Club (ICS) in Mountshannon, has grown to approximately forty boats.

Published in Inland Waterways
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Yacht racing on Ireland's inland waters is thriving, with clubs holding regular events on Lough Derg throughout September.

Garykennedy Sailing Club and Iniscealtra Sailing Club have a friendly relationship and often host events together, allowing committee members to have time off from constantly organising events every weekend. This smaller arrangement is worth considering for clubs in other areas where they are growing throughout the island.

Dan O'Connell, a club Sailing Secretary, said, "We are getting regular fleets of 15-20 boats on Saturday afternoons." "This keeps Sundays free for family activities both on and off the water", he added.

A visit to Garykennedy last weekend by Afloat showed the fleet finishing up after the Ciss Ryan Cup race. Although it was windy on the west coast, the sailors' relaxed faces were coming ashore after a shortened course of an hour and a half. Some commented that the winds were too light for spinnakers.

Garykennedy S.C. has two warm clubhouses overlooking the lake, offering full bar service and excellent food in the name of Ryans and Larkins Hosptilaries. By 4 pm, the club was bustling both inside and outside in pleasant sunshine, with members in their dry sailing gear while the weather was approaching. A buffet was in full swing, provided by the Ryan family, keeping the members together for the presentation of prizes.

The winning crew on "Celtic Charisma", a Kelt 29, accepting the Ciss Ryan Cup from Roy and Denise Breen (from L-R) Tadgh Murphy Commodore, Nigel and Sue Smithwick, with their son and grandchildren Neil and Alison  McCormack and young Oscar and Luca McCormack Photo: Patricia GeorgeThe winning crew on "Celtic Charisma", a Kelt 29, accepting the Ciss Ryan Cup from Roy and Denise Breen (from L-R) Tadgh Murphy Commodore, Nigel and Sue Smithwick, with their son and grandchildren Neil and Alison  McCormack and young Oscar and Luca McCormack Photo: Patricia George

Pierce Purcell of Galway Bay S.C. visited to keep an eye on the west's inland sailing and to commend both Garykennedy and the Mountshannon Clubs on their running of the recent Gortmore Bell Race and weekend activity.

RNLI cheque

Philip Despard Iniscealtra Sailing Club, Ger Murphy ISC sailing Captain, Dr John Killeen, Irish Trustee RNLI, Niamh McCutcheon RNLI and LDYC, Pierce Purcell Galway, and Tadgh Murphy, Commodore of Garykennedy SC and Peter O'Callaghan, ISC Photo: Patricia GeorgePhilip Despard Iniscealtra Sailing Club, Ger Murphy ISC sailing Captain, Dr John Killeen, Irish Trustee RNLI, Niamh McCutcheon RNLI and LDYC, Pierce Purcell Galway, and Tadgh Murphy, Commodore of Garykennedy SC and Peter O'Callaghan, ISC Photo: Patricia George

John Killeen, Irish Trustee RNLI, and Niamh McCutcheon of Lough Derg RNLI were there to receive a cheque worth €1,600 raised by members of both clubs.

Dr Killeen expressed his gratitude on behalf of RNLI to the sailors for their contribution and praised the volunteers with crews on call throughout the year. He also informed the gathering that the RNLI would be celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2024.

Pat Lawless presentation

Pat Lawless, a Golden Globe sailor, was presented with life membership of Garykennedy to a standing ovation.

Golden Globe sailor Pat Lawless with Brendan O’Connor, Garykennedy Sailing Club Vice Commodore on his boat Vamoose competing in the Ciss Ryan trophy Golden Globe sailor Pat Lawless with Brendan O’Connor, Garykennedy Sailing Club Vice Commodore on his boat Vamoose competing in the Ciss Ryan trophy 

He had earlier given a most entertaining talk on his Golden Globe race entry. One could feel his relaxed passion in the room as he gave encouragement to the gathering to enter the race. Being a former West Coast fisherman, nothing seemed to daunt him, as he shared that he would go below to read books or cook for some hours, sleeping only for 20 minutes at a time.

He took pride in his boat and the accuracy of his navigation, not to mention the wonderful support of his sponsor Green Rebel, his family, and friends. Pat is now saving for the next Golden Globe race in 2026.

Garykennedy Sailing Club Master of Ceremonies, Brendan O'Connor, with Commodore Tadgh Murphy presenting Golden Globe sailor Pat Lawless with life membership of Garykennedy SC Photo: Patricia GeorgeGarykennedy Sailing Club Master of Ceremonies, Brendan O'Connor, with Commodore Tadgh Murphy presenting Golden Globe sailor Pat Lawless with life membership of Garykennedy SC Photo: Patricia George

Published in Inland Waterways

A local Limerick sailing team has emerged victorious in the 43rd annual Gortmore Bell Race, held on September 9th on Lough Derg.

The race is considered the longest inland sailing race in Ireland and attracted 18 entries from various sailing clubs throughout the region.

The race was closely contested, with the GoJoe team aboard the J80 racing yacht, ultimately winning the coveted trophy.

Iniscealtra Sailing Club's Gortmore Bell RaceIniscealtra Sailing Club's Gortmore Bell Race

The trophy win was a tribute to the memory of Joseph (Joe) Crowley, a friend to all aboard, with the team dedicating their win to him after his passing.

Despite light winds, the race lasted over six hours on a shortened course, with only 56 seconds separating the first and second-place teams, with Rayon De Lunec runner-up and Dexterity third.

The Iniscealtra Sailing Club at Mountshannon organised the Gortmore Bell race, which has become a highlight of the inland Irish sailing calendar. 

Published in Inland Waterways
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It’s been a busy and productive year to date for volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI, with crew passing out on training assessments and new volunteers joining the team — as well as the hugely successful fundraising Lap the Lake charity cycle organised by the Lough Derg RNLI fundraising committee.

RNLI volunteers maintain their proficiency in their lifesaving work with competence-based training modules. Volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI train twice weekly on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings.

Recently, Oisín Higgins was successful in his crew pass-out assessments with RNLI assessor/trainer Seán Ginnelly, while Dom Sharkey has returned as an RNLI helm at the lifeboat station and was one of the team afloat for Oisín’s assessment.

Seán also assessed and passed Paraic Slattery out on his preliminary shore modules so that he can now train afloat on the lifeboat.

Lifeboat operations manager Christine O’Malley presenting Oisín Higgins with his pagerLifeboat operations manager Christine O’Malley presenting Oisín Higgins with his pager

Paraic is a captain with the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 and has delivered an informative presentation on his role as a rescue pilot to the station team, including a discussion on the combined operations between RNLI lifeboats and the coastguard. His talk reaffirmed the required skill, commitment and training by all involved within the rescue services.

Another new recruit is Triona Breen, who has been passed out on her preliminary modules that permit her now to train with her fellow volunteers on the water.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI said: “We are hugely grateful to Seán as assessor/trainer whose teaching skills and enthusiasm have a positive impact on all volunteers at the station. Thanks too to Joe O’Donoghue, crew at Lough Derg RNLI who provided classes, resources and his valuable time to help Paraic and Triona with their studies.

“We are pleased to see the camaraderie and teamwork as established crew and helms support their fellow volunteers with their training and assessments. It means our crew are ready for whatever scenarios they meet on the water.”

Volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI welcomed Lisa Hollingum, their new area lifesaving manger (ALM), on her visit to the station to meet the crew and Operations Team. As ALM, Lisa’s role is to lead and support a team of staff and volunteers, and actively manage the safe and effective delivery of the RNLI’s lifesaving services.

Seán Ginnelly with trainee crew Triona Breen | Credit: RNLI/Eleanor HookerSeán Ginnelly with trainee crew Triona Breen | Credit: RNLI/Eleanor Hooker

Earlier this year, volunteers from Lough Derg RNLI travelled to the Irish Coast Guard’s Marine Rescue Coordination Centre on a pre-arranged visit. Members of the station also took the opportunity to visit Valentia RNLI and to see around the all-weather lifeboat and station.

Crew and members of Lough Derg RNLI operations team met watch officers Brian Shiels, John Geoghegan and Liam Jenkinson, who showed the crew round the centre and explained their important role maintaining a listening watch on marine distress frequencies.

Watch officers also produce and broadcast Radio Navigational Warnings and notify mariners of navigational hazards. They task and coordinate search and rescue missions with declared search-and-rescue (SAR) assets such as RNLI lifeboats, Sikorsky helicopters and the coastguard’s volunteer land and water units. The rescue coordination centres process calls that come from members of the public through the 112/999 emergency call system.

“It was an important visit that forged even closer ties with our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard,” Christine said. “Members of the station also took the opportunity to visit Valentia RNLI and were given a warm welcome.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Derg RNLI were requested to launch at noon on Thursday 10 August) to assist two people on a 40ft cruiser with engine failure and at anchor by navigation buoy H, close to Terryglass Bay.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Steve Smyth and crew and Eleanor Hooker, Chris Parker and Joe O’Donoghue on board. The wind was south-easterly Force 4-5 and visibility was good.

At 12.35pm the lifeboat located the casualty vessel and came alongside to transfer an RNLI volunteer across to assess the situation. Both people on board were safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejackets.

The RNLI crew reported back to the lifeboat that the vessel was dragging its anchor slightly and at risk of being dragged into rocky and shallow water.

It was then decided to take the vessel with its passengers, and with the RNLI crew member remaining on board, to the closest safe harbour.

Within minutes, the lifeboat had the casualty vessel under an astern tow to Terryglass Harbour. On constant lookout, the lifeboat crew kept the helm appraised of the dense traffic on the lake also making way for Terryglass.

In order to navigate the narrow channel into the harbour, the lifeboat helm advised he was going to take the tow head to weather and to prepare for an alongside tow.

As the harbour was full, at 1.16pm the lifeboat safely moored the casualty vessel on the outer wall of the harbour.

Speaking after the call-out, Aoife Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users: “If you find yourself in difficulty, dial 112 or 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

This was the second call of the week for Lough Derg RNLI. On Sunday afternoon (6 August) pagers sounded for a request to assist three people on a vessel taking on water and in danger of sinking outside Garrykennedy Harbour. But shortly after launch the lifeboat was stood down as it emerged that another vessel had taken the casualty boat by tow to a safe mooring in the harbour.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Saturday afternoon (1 July) Lough Derg RNLI was requested to launch by Valentia Coast Guard following a report from a member of the public of a vessel aground close to Terryglass at the northern end of Lough Derg.

The inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched at 4.58pm with helm Steve Smyth, Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Oisín Higgins on board. Winds were northwesterly Force 4-5 with good visibility.

At 5.22pm the RNLI lifeboat crew could see the casualty vessel, a leased cruiser, at the reported location close to Slevoir Bay near Terryglass Harbour.

It emerged that the cruiser company had a vessel on the water and had taken both passengers to safety in Terryglass. They told the lifeboat volunteers that they were going to take the vessel off the rocky shoal and the lifeboat waited on standby to ensure the crew on the salvage vessel were safe.

By 5.33pm both vessels were back in safe water and the lifeboat was stood down.

Christine O’Malley, lifeboat operations manager at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users to “check the weather and stay within the navigational channel. If in difficulty dial 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue.”

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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: 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