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Displaying items by tag: Loughs Agency

The Loughs Agency is currently recruiting a new chief executive officer, based in Derry, for the body which manages Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough.

Among other requirements, candidates are expected to demonstrate a proven track record of experience as a leader and senior manager within the public, private, voluntary or community sectors — and have experience of creating and delivering important change in a multi-disciplinary and complex environment.

A degree in a relevant area such as marine science, fisheries management, sustainable development, business administration or marketing is also desired.

The current salary range for this position is £61,742–£67,403. Salary at appointment will normally be at the minimum point of the scale, however, a higher starting salary may be considered if the successful candidate has exceptionally relevant qualifications, experience or skills.

Full details of the criteria for the role, as well as the application and selection process, are available on PublicJobs.ie. The closing date for applications is 3pm on Thursday 3 November.

Published in Jobs
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The Loughs Agency says it welcomes the new legislation to protect basking sharks in Irish waters.

As reported by Afloat.ie on Monday (3 October), measures to accord the status of ‘protected wild animal’ on basking sharks under the Wildlife Act were signed into law by Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan.

The Irish Basking Shark Group (IBSG) was among the organisations responsible for pushing the new regulations through. The group’s ‘Save our Shark’ campaign garnered the support of over 12,000 members of the public signing an online petition.

The basking shark has been classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of globally threatened species, with its status changing from vulnerable to endangered globally in 2019.

It is now protected from hunting, injury and wilful destruction of its breeding and resting places in Irish waters under the Wildlife Act. However, the Social Democrats are calling for a protection plan “with the necessary resources” for the second-largest fish in the oceans.

Basking sharks have been frequently sighted in both Loughs Agency catchments— in Lough Foyle off the coast of Donegal as well as in Carlingford Lough.

The Loughs Agency is the cross-border body for the fisheries and marine resources of the Foyle and Carlingford areas and says it has been heavily involved in conservation efforts for the basking shark and other marine wildlife species as part of the SeaMonitor Project, with further updates available in the near future.

Sharon McMahon, chief executive of the Loughs Agency said: “We welcome the news that these stunning creatures are now designated as protected under Ireland’s Wildlife Act.

“The threat of extinction is on the increase for the basking shark, and as our waters constitute one of the most internationally important coastal regions for the species, this announcement will serve to ensure our loughs remain a safe space.

“On behalf of Loughs Agency, I would like to thank Ministers Noonan and McConalogue for signing off these regulations.”

The move has also been welcomed as “a huge step forward” by campaign network Fair Seas, though its policy officer Dr Donal Griffin added: “We can do even more to make sure basking sharks thrive in Irish waters.”

Published in Marine Wildlife

A group of 16 young people came together last month for a five-day programme exploring the natural resources of the Carlingford catchment.

The Loughs Agency’s Carlingford Ambassador programme aims to connect young people to the waterways in their local area through discovering, conserving and protecting native flora and fauna.

The young people, who are residents from all over the catchment, gathered on the first day and immediately gelled together after a morning of icebreakers.

Through presentations and conversations, they learned about the role of the Loughs Agency and its importance in the protection and conservation of local ecosystems and biodiversity.

Camlough Lake in Co Armagh was the destination for day two. For many, it was their first time holding a fishing rod. Angling coaches provided excellent tuition and valuable tips and techniques, particularly on implementing best practices for catch and release.

This was a fun and positive day with lots of fish being caught and released by all the ambassadors — an outstanding achievement and confidence boost for many.

Day three was spent among the magnificent oak trees of Fairy Glen in Rostrevor, Co Down on the banks of the Kilbroney River. Fishery inspector David Clarke and the Carlingford team demonstrated how they carry out electrofishing surveys, building awareness of the different fish species found in their local rivers.

Carlingford Ambassadors took part in a coastal clean-up along the shore of Carlingford Lough | Credit: Loughs AgencyCarlingford Ambassadors took part in a coastal clean-up along the shore of Carlingford Lough | Credit: Loughs Agency

Ambassadors had the opportunity to learn about the role of a fishery officer, with some members of the group mentioning that this interested them as a possible career path.

The remainder of the day was spent collecting and identifying invertebrate species found in local rivers and completing a citizen survey to help indicate the river’s overall water quality.

On day four, the ambassadors explored the intertidal zone of Carlingford Lough. They were amazed to discover marine life under seaweeds and rocks — from shore crabs, blennies and mussels to breadcrumb sponges, dog whelk eggs and anemones.

Ambassadors also learned how to identify marine critters and, most importantly, to gently and safely handle them, minimising disturbance and always leaving seaweeds and rocks as they were found.

After the rockpool explorations, they led a coastal clean-up collecting litter while recording what was found. Litter items consisted of aquaculture debris (rubber bands and zip ties), soft plastics, pieces of glass and much more.

On the final day, poor weather conditions meant paddleboarding had to be abandoned. Instead, the group went to SkyPark, Ireland’s largest adventure park in Carlingford, Co Louth. The ambassadors took on the challenges, overcoming considerable fears in tackling the heights, jumps and zip lines, all while cheering each other on in what marked a brilliant way to finish the week.

Throughout the programme, the Carlingford Ambassadors have embraced all the activities and challenged themselves, while also learning about their local natural environment and what they can do to help protect and conserve it, the Loughs Agency says.

Published in Coastal Notes
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More than 200 new Salmon Ambassadors have graduated as part of the Loughs Agency’s 2022 programme for primary schools in the Foyle and Carlingford river catchments.

The interactive, hands-on learning programme encouraged pupils to learn about their local river system and included various activities and topics such as salmon life cycles, migration, conservation, preservation, restoration and the role of the Loughs Agency.

This year’s programme culminated in an online conference showcasing the outstanding salmon projects carried out by each school since the beginning of February.

At the virtual event, pupils presented animations, videos, posters and works of art to their fellow Salmon Ambassadors across the participating schools, which this year were Broadbridge Primary School in Eglinton, Drumrane Primary School in Dungiven, St Columba’s Primary School in Newbuildings and Nazareth House Primary School, all in Co Derry; Scoil Naomh Lorcan in Omeath, Co Louth; St Mary’s National School in Stranorlar, Co Donegal; and St Patrick’s Primary School in Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

Each class focused on a particular life stage. Participants also had the opportunity to hear stories: a grandfather of one of the pupils was famous for catching the largest salmon ever recorded in the River Finn.

Pupils highlighted the habitats in which the fish live, the food they eat, the natural threats they face and the impact of human activities and waste on their health and survival. 

Each class also had the opportunity to create a pledge to work towards in the future to continue conserving and protecting salmon populations and their surrounding environments.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Loughs Agency initiated Salmon Ambassadors as part of 2019’s International Year of the Salmon to help connect young people to the array of incredible fish that inhabit the Foyle and Carlingford catchments.

The next Salmon Ambassador programme will commence in early 2023 and is targeted at primary- and national-school level, the Loughs Agency says.

Published in Marine Wildlife

With Met Éireann forecasting a heat wave for large parts of the country into this weekend, combined with lower-than-average rainfall, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is warning that there is a high risk of fish kills due to thermal stress and reduced oxygen levels in lakes and rivers.

Also known as deoxygenation, reduced oxygen levels in a river or lake make it very difficult for fish to breathe and survive.

The State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats is concerned that water levels in many rivers are low and approaching drought conditions.

Therefore, it is appealing to anglers, the farming community and the general public to report any sightings of fish under thermal stress, which may be caused by the extreme heat combined with low water levels and other pressures.

Anglers are also being asked to voluntarily stop using ‘keep nets’ while high temperature warnings from Met Éireann are in place, as these nets may cause unintentional distress to fish.

In addition, anglers that practice ‘catch and release’ fishing are asked not to fish during the heat wave where possible, as this may put undue pressure on fish populations.

Dr Gregory Forde, head of operations at IFI explains: “Unfortunately low water levels and high water temperatures can lead to fish kills, especially as there is less oxygen in the water to allow fish to breathe.

‘During the current heat wave, air and water temperatures are approaching dangerous levels and fish kills may be unavoidable’

“Once the water temperature exceeds 20C, fish species such as salmon and trout suffer ‘thermal stress’. During the current heat wave, air and water temperatures are approaching dangerous levels and fish kills may be unavoidable. In some instances, moving fish in and out of the water may also prove too stressful. 

“That’s why we’re asking anglers practicing catch and release fishing to consider taking a break from fishing while high temperature warnings are in place. We’re also asking anglers to voluntarily stop using ‘keep nets’ until conditions become more favourable.”

Last month, IFI and the Office of Public Works’ data buoy recorded a surface water temperature of 21.84C at Lough Sheelin in Co Cavan, coinciding with July’s hottest air temperature of 30.75C. 

IFI notes that significant thermal stress can occur in brown trout and other cold water fish species at temperatures at or above 20C.

Forde said: “Inland Fisheries Ireland staff are continuously monitoring water bodies, such as rivers and lakes, for any signs of fish suffering thermal stress in shallow water or drying out rivers and streams.

“We’re encouraging the public to report any sightings of fish suffering thermal stress to our 24-hour confidential hotline on 0818 34 74 24 so we can respond as quickly as possible to help rescue or relocate these fish.

“It is also a good time to remind all those using pesticides that these should be used only as a last resort, always in accordance with product instructions and always respecting statutory ‘no use’ zones, being mindful at all times of proximity to water bodies such as ditches, streams, ponds, rivers, lakes and springs. Even a very small amount of pesticide can be highly toxic to the aquatic environment.”

‘Many of our fish species will find survival difficult in these warm conditions without the added pressure of angling stress’

Elsewhere, the Loughs Agency is advising anglers across both the Foyle and Carlingford catchments to help preserve salmon and trout stocks in local rivers following prolonged periods of hot weather.

These extreme weather conditions have led to low river flows, high water temperatures and low oxygen levels in many bodies of water.

The guidance comes after only 43% of the average rainfall fell in Northern Ireland last month, although some rivers in the Foyle catchment also experienced severe flooding. Each one of these significant weather events put stress on fish.

The agency’s head of science Dr Sarah McLean is hopeful that anglers will proceed with caution on the rivers, particularly when fishing in the current warm temperatures.

“Many of our fish species will find survival difficult in these warm conditions without the added pressure of angling stress,” she said.

“Even catch and release poses a risk in these conditions as low dissolved oxygen in the water can result in poor fish recovery rates and inadvertent mortalities.

“It is also worth remembering that high water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels may also leave fish more susceptible to parasites and disease, so any fish caught will also require additional care when handling.”

There are several measures anglers in Foyle and Carlingford can take to help protect fish during the hot weather:

  • Consider taking the water temperature before you fish and avoid fishing at times when water temperatures are high. Water temperature will be coolest in the early morning.
  • Where possible, keep fish in the water during catch and release.
  • Seek advice from fishery or angling clubs where appropriate.
  • Avoid targeting larger fish or sensitive species.
  • Keep nets should not be used by coarse anglers during warm weather.
  • Limit handling time.
  • Where possible and safe, release fish into deeper, faster flowing water. 

Anglers should report distressed or dead fish in the Foyle or Carlingford catchments directly and promptly to the Loughs Agency at +44 (0)28 71 342100 or [email protected].

Published in Angling

The Loughs Agency said it was delighted to welcome Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, to its zone at the Foyle Maritime Festival recently.

The minister was able to spend some time with the staff and experience the agency’s ‘Marine Machine’, which featured a critters’ pond, biodiversity area and a life-size basking shark.

Among the critters were crabs and a lobster, while the biodiversity area highlighted some of the hidden hazards that can be found within our catchments and beyond.

The Loughs Agency also debuted its ‘VR Experience’ at the maritime festival. The short video took users on a journey along the River Foyle past the Craigavon and Peace Bridges before diving underwater where the famous ‘Dopey Dick’ whale and a basking shark awaited.

Minister McConalogue said: “I had great pleasure visiting the Foyle Maritime Festival and had the opportunity to attend the Loughs Agency zone at the festival and meet the team.

“The Marine Machine and VR Experience are very impressive in promoting the importance of conservation and development of the fisheries and marine resources of the Foyle and Carlingford catchments.

“It was great to see the family-focused activities provided by Loughs Agency based on the River Foyle, ensuring enjoyment for the whole family.”

Loughs Agency interim chief executive Sharon McMahon added: “Firstly, on behalf of the Agency I'd like to extend a huge thank you to the minister for taking the time to come and visit our zone. It was a great opportunity to showcase our contribution to the Foyle Maritime Festival and we thoroughly enjoyed having Mr McConalogue as our guest.

“It was also brilliant to be able to highlight our ongoing work in providing sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits through the effective conservation, management, promotion and development of the fisheries and marine resources of the Foyle and Carlingford areas.

“The Marine Machine and VR experience are just the latest in a long line of projects for Loughs Agency, particularly when it comes to promoting positive biodiversity.”

Published in Maritime Festivals

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is investigating a recent fish kill incident recorded on the Ballinagh River in Co Cavan.

Environmental and fisheries officers from the North-Western River Basin District were alerted to the incident by a member of the public on the evening of Tuesday 19 July.

Water samples were taken at the location and removed for scientific analysis.

The State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats estimates that in excess of 150 fish were killed in the incident, including brown trout, stickleback and minnow.

IFI adds that as investigations are ongoing, it is not in a position to comment on the cause of the fish kill at this stage, pending further analysis of samples taken.

Dr Milton Matthews, director of the North-Western River Basin District with IFI acknowledged the ongoing support of the public in reporting suspected cases of water pollution and fish kills.

“We are grateful to the member of the public who reported this incident to us so promptly, which enabled our team to take immediate action and start our investigation without delay,” he said.

“Early notice is very often critical in determining the underlying cause of fish kill events, such as this one on the Ballinagh River.”

Members of the public are encouraged to call IFI’s new confidential 24-hour hotline number on 0818 34 74 24 to report any sightings of fish kills or suspected water pollution.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, the Loughs Agency has confirmed a fish kill on the River Mourne in Strabane, Co Tyrone where a number of dead adult salmon were discovered in the river’s lower stretch.

“Fishery officers are currently attempting to recover a number of dead fish to allow investigation,” the agency says.

“The cause at this moment is unknown. Officers at this time do not wish to speculate, but high-water temperatures and ambient air temperatures can result in conditions in our rivers that may be unfavourable to fish.

“Anyone recovering a dead fish should contact the Loughs Agency 24-hour response number on +44 287 134 2100.”

Published in Angling

The Loughs Agency has issued an alert requesting that anglers or members of the general public report any sightings of Pacific pink salmon in the Foyle or Carlingford river systems.

These migratory species of salmon, also known as ‘humpback’ salmon, are native to river systems in the northern Pacific Ocean but populations appearing in Europe are believed to have originated from stocking programmes in Russia in the latter stages of the 20th century.

Recordings of Pacific pink salmon in the Foyle and Carlingford catchments had been rare until 2017, when unprecedented numbers of the species began to be reported within inshore coastal waters in Scotland and England, and small numbers appeared in the Foyle catchment.

In 2019, the species was spotted in the Faughan, Dennett, Roe and Mourne Rivers within the Loughs Agency’s Foyle catchment between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and it was also prevalent in many other rivers throughout the rest of Ireland.

Inland Fisheries Ireland issued its own appeal to anglers last summer after a specimen was caught in Co Mayo.

Anglers are asked to be especially vigilant for potential reappearances of Pacific pink salmon during August and September, when they are most likely to be in spawning areas.

The following steps should be followed in the case of sightings or catches of Pacific pink salmon:

  • Take a clear photograph of the fish and keep a copy of the image
  • Record the date, location and method of capture or sighting, as well as details of the site
  • Note the weight and fork length measurement of the fish
  • Record the sex of the fish
  • Freeze and store the fish whole as soon as possible after capture
  • Contact the Loughs Agency immediately on +44 (0) 28 71 342100

If you are unsure as to the appearance of Pacific pink salmon, the following information can help identify the species:

  • Adult fish fresh from the sea are blue-green to steel blue on the back
  • Tend to have silver sides and a white underbelly
  • Range from 40—55cm in length (maximum 76cm)
  • Range from 1kg-2.5kg in weight (maximum 6.8kg)
Published in Angling
Tagged under

The Loughs Agency has confirmed the detection of a “limited number” of escaped rainbow trout from an aquaculture facility in the Foyle area.

Investigations are being conducted by inland fisheries officials from Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Anglers in the area who catch rainbow trout are advised not to release them back into the river and, if possible, to retain samples for Loughs Agency fishery officers who will collect them on request at +44 (0) 28 71 342100.

Published in Angling
Tagged under

Interested parties are now invited to apply for a licence to fish the 2022/2023 native oyster fishery on Lough Foyle.

Applicants will be required to submit a completed application via post, which must be received on or before Friday 29 July.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide proof of postage in the event of a late application delivery or a missing application.

At this stage the Loughs Agency asks that only completed application forms are sent. Please do not send additional documents or payment.

Loughs Agency offices are currently closed but application forms are available for download.

The licence fee is £150 or €166 and fees payable on receipt of licence.

No late applications will be accepted without proof of postage within the stated application timeframe.

Send applications to the following address:

Oyster Licence Applications
Loughs Agency
22 Victoria Road
Derry ~ Londonderry
BT47 2AB
Northern Ireland

Telephone opening hours 9am to 5pm Monday-Friday
Tel: +44 (0) 28 71 342100
Fax: +44 (0) 28 71 342720

Published in Fishing
Page 4 of 9

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