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Displaying items by tag: Marine Institute

A major new European project aims to improve our understanding of how the bycatch of fisheries impacts protected, endangered and threatened species (PETS) in the Atlantic Ocean, and develop methods for better monitoring and mitigating these impacts.

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme, Marine Beacon (Monitoring and elimination of bycatch of endangered and conserved species in the NE and high seas Atlantic region) will address gaps in current understanding of how bycatch impacts PETS.

It will also work with fisheries, policy and conservation stakeholders to develop and test innovative tools and techniques for better monitoring of important species and mitigating risks of bycatch, to ensure healthier seas and more sustainable fisheries.

Bycatch — the unintentional capture of non-target marine wildlife during fishing — is recognised as a major threat to marine species globally, particularly marine mammals, seabirds, turtles and sensitive fish species, as well as the ecosystems that rely on these creatures.

Yet monitoring of these species and their interactions with fishing in such a dynamic and challenging environment has often been ineffective.

Advancements in bycatch mitigation and elimination have lagged behind the urgency of the issue, with many proposed solutions failing to adequately take into account the differing realities of diverse fisheries and lacking sufficient input from relevant industry and policy stakeholders.

In order to address the issue of biodiversity decline in our Atlantic regions and help the recovery of these ecosystems and their services, Marine Beacon brings together 21 research, technology, and fisheries partners from nine countries.

Together they will work across our regional seas to identify significant gaps in our monitoring and understanding of bycatch, and to introduce innovative knowledge and tools to better understand bycatch risk and vulnerability.

By inclusively collaborating with key stakeholders in the fisheries, policy and conservation sectors, Marine Beacon aims to ensure that new, cutting-edge monitoring and mitigation tools are effective and feasible, providing long-term applicability and impact beyond the lifetime of the project.

The project has six key objectives:

  • Engage with key stakeholder groups to build mutual understanding on how to effectively mitigate against the bycatch of PETS.
  • Improve our knowledge of how PETS intersect with bycatch and identify how improved survey and monitoring design can fill gaps in data.
  • Evaluate the specific risk posed by fisheries bycatch to the vulnerability status of PETS.
  • Advance next generation monitoring solutions, design optimal monitoring programmes and accelerate EU monitoring programmes to better achieve EU biodiversity strategy 2030 targets for eliminating or reducing PETS bycatch.
  • Develop state of the art mitigation solutions that reduce bycatch and where possible eliminate associated mortalities.
  • Create integrated bycatch management decision support tools to help Member States’ respective management programmes achieve their objectives.

Marine Beacon was launched on Wednesday 21 February and will run for four-and-a-half years. It is coordinated by Ireland’s Marine Institute and comprises an expert team from Belgium, Denmark, France, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the UK. For more information, follow on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter) at @MarineBEACON_EU.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Marine Institute will be exhibiting at two stands at the Irish Skipper Expo this Friday 23 and Saturday 24 February at the University of Limerick.

Firstly, the institute’s shellfish team will present the work it carries out on data collection, assessment and advice on shellfish species.

The newly published Shellfish Stocks and Fisheries Review for 2023 will be available both in hard copy and online, with data reported for all major shellfish species that the inshore fishing fleet rely on.

Its online equivalent, the Shellfish Fisheries App, will be launched providing online access to shellfish surveys and assessments undertaken by the shellfish team.

The industry provides much of the data going into the shellfish assessments and the stand provides an opportunity for both parties to discuss inputs and outputs from this important programme for the inshore fishing fleet in Ireland.

In addition to all issues relating to commercially fished shellfish around the Irish coast, the Marine Institute will be on hand to talk about the current inshore Vessel Monitoring System (iVMS), the ICeco (Irish Coastal Ecosystem) survey and the skipper self-sampling programme, currently out for tender, which is an opportunity for skippers to get involved and be paid for reporting of data on crab and lobster fisheries to the Marine Institute.

The EMFAF (European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund) Marine Biodiversity and Marine Knowledge Schemes team will also attend the Irish Skipper Expo to showcase to industry and stakeholders the priorities being implemented under these schemes.

These include contributing to the protection and restoration of aquatic biodiversity and strengthening sustainable sea and ocean management. Marine Institute staff will be available to provide information on the implementation of the EMFAF operational programmes and the projects funded and implemented by the institute.

‘The biodiversity scheme under Ireland’s EMFAF programme helps provide the science and evidence basis to support a sustainable seafood production programme’

“In order for seafood production to be sustainable it is important that not only is the resource carefully managed, but the impacts of harvesting that resource on the wider ecosystem are also considered,” director of fisheries Ciaran Kelly said.

“The biodiversity scheme under Ireland’s EMFAF programme helps provide the science and evidence basis to support a sustainable seafood production programme that also protects and restores marine biodiversity.”

The Marine Knowledge Scheme, meanwhile, aims to enable the collection, management, analysis, processing and use of marine data to improve the knowledge on the state of the marine environment and inform a sustainable blue economy.

An important goal is to contribute to the achievement of climate change objectives. The scheme will improve understanding of impacts of climate change on marine activities and on the environment.

EMFAF has many projects under way at the moment under both schemes, including the assessment of the crayfish fishery to restore the crayfish stocks and protect critically endangered species.

In addition, the data and digital services programme enables the collection and analysis of marine data covering the full breadth of marine activities and ensuring delivery on national obligations relating to marine spatial planning, marine environment, fisheries data, marine renewable energy and climate.

Climate projects being implemented are contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation in fisheries and aquaculture. This will help to deliver on Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2023. The focus of these includes the highly skilled areas of remote sensing and climate change projections. It means that Government and other stakeholders have a solid evidence base available to formulate decisions.

The EMFAF Marine Biodiversity and Marine Knowledge Schemes are cofunded by the Irish Government and the European Maritime Fisheries & Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) 2021-2027. The schemes are established under Priority 1 (Sustainable Fisheries) and Priority 2 (Sustainable Aquaculture) and Priority 4 (Strengthen Ocean Governance) of Ireland’s Operational Programme (OP) under the EMFAF.

Published in Fishing

The Marine Institute Explorers Education Programme team has launched a new set of resources for primary schools, aimed at promoting Ireland’s rich marine biodiversity in the classroom. The new class projects, called Fin-tastic Sharks+, will focus on the 71 species of sharks, skates, and rays that can be found in Irish waters. 

Cushla Dromgool Regan, Explorers Education Manager and lead author of the resources, said that the team was "delighted to be celebrating the launch of the Explorers Fin-Tastic Sharks+ new online shark resources over Valentines." 

The resources, which are available for free download from explorers.ie, include a range of cross-curricular activities that teachers and children can use to explore different shark themes in class or on the seashore. The content covers everything from STEM activities to design and communication projects, and is suitable for children of all ages. 

Patricia Orme, Corporate Services Director at the Marine Institute, congratulated the Explorers team on creating new materials to promote Ireland's marine biodiversity in primary schools. "Primary school teachers and children around the coast love learning about sharks and their relatives," she said. "It is always a favourite topic to cover with children, teachers and our outreach teams, who visit the classes of over 13,000 children annually."

The resources include a new Explorers mermaid’s purse key that is suitable for children to use in the classroom and on the shore. The key covers the top ten shark and skate cases typically found on the shores around Ireland, and provides lots of extra shark and skate information to encourage children to become citizen scientists, recording their egg case finds online.

The launch of the new resources comes at a time when the Marine Institute's fisheries scientific team has recorded two baby white skates during the annual groundfish survey while on the RV Celtic Explorer. This was an extremely rare find, as the white skate is listed as Critically Endangered. Of the 58 cartilaginous shark, skate and ray species researched in Irish waters, over 60 percent of them are listed as a Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered.

Ms Dromgool-Regan explained that sharing positive stories about sharks, skates and rays can help people understand the importance of having these species in Irish waters. "This helps us all get involved in better managing and protecting our marine resource now and for the future," she said.

Published in Marine Science
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The Marine Institute has shared its pride in celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Sunday 11 February.

The United Nations Theme for the ninth International Day of Women and Girls in Science is “Women in Science Leadership: A New Era for Sustainability”.

The Marine Institute provides scientific, research and development services to government, agencies, industry and society that support the sustainable use of our maritime area and the protection and restoration of marine ecosystems.

Sustainability is at the heart of how the institute works as an organisation and is a guiding principle for its research, scientific advice and economic development services, it says.

None of this could be achieved without the contribution of the many women who work in the institute, it adds, saying it has a longstanding commitment to equality in the workforce and to encouraging young people to consider a career in our sector.

Initiatives include education and engagement at national school level, its annual Transition Year programme and work as partners with many third-level institutions in Ireland and overseas.

The Marine Institute has a staff of 245 employees, of which female employees account for more than half (51.2%).

Patricia Orme, director of corporate Services at the Marine Institute said: “As an organisation we are committed to fostering the talents of women in all areas of marine science, particularly those at the early stages of their careers, as they are the future leaders of our sector.”

She continued: “Our current five-year strategy, Ocean Knowledge that Informs and Inspires, demonstrates our commitment to women in science leadership with a strategic initiative being to advance equality of opportunity for all, with specific actions as a public body focusing on gender equality.”

To mark the occasion, the institute is also sharing messages from some of its female staff, showcasing their work, its impact and the many meaningful careers available to women in science on its Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (X) and Instagram feeds.

Published in Marine Science
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The Marine Institute has announced its 2024 Summer Bursary Scholarship Programme, inviting third-level students to apply for work experience in a variety of marine areas. The programme, which has been running for over 30 years, provides essential career development, support, and inspiration to the next generation of marine professionals.

Designed to equip students with the skills to become ocean leaders and marine champions of the future, the Bursary Scholarship Programme is a key initiative of the Marine Institute's Strategic Plan 2023-2027: Ocean knowledge that informs and Inspires. Undergraduates of Universities and Institutes for Higher Education, both National and International, are eligible to apply for the programme, provided they have completed two years of study in a relevant discipline by the beginning of June 2024.

Successful candidates will work with full-time staff of the Marine Institute in a variety of exciting areas such as marine and freshwater fisheries monitoring, aquaculture, benthic monitoring, shellfish safety media and communications, SmartBay community engagements and Smart Bay AI, economics, policy analysis, human resources, oceanography machine learning, remote sensing, marine infrastructure, and marine communications.

Patricia Orme, Director of Corporate Services at the Marine Institute, said, "The Marine Institute Bursary Scholarship Programme has operated for over 30 years. It continues to offer opportunities for undergraduate students to develop their skills and strengthen their knowledge in relation to the marine sector. Participating students are enabled to make informed decisions early in their studies about the marine and maritime careers they would like to pursue."

The programme provides undergraduates with a unique opportunity to meet fellow students from other third-level colleges, as well as work with experts in their field, helping them form a future network in the marine sector. The bursaries are based at the Marine Institute's facilities in Oranmore, Co. Galway and Newport Co. Mayo.

The Marine Institute is committed to supporting a culture of high performance driven by its people, whose skills, experience, and passion for the marine are central to the work performed for government and other stakeholders. The Bursary Scholarship Programme, therefore, serves as an important investment in the future generation of ocean professionals.

To Apply for the 2024 Bursary Programme:

  • Please view the bursary titles available on www.marine.ie
  • Select the two bursary positions that interest you the most and in order of preference
  • Complete the online application form and submit as per the instructions
  • Application Deadline Date is Friday 23rd February 2024

Online application form

Published in Marine Science

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and Marine Institute will host a workshop for industry this week on the requirements relating to sanitary surveys for shellfish harvesting areas and Ireland’s implementation of the relevant legislation.

The workshop will be held in person at FSAI’s head office in Dublin as well as online from 10am to 2pm this Thursday 8 February, and will include speakers from the SFPA, FSAI, Marine Institute, IFA-Aquaculture, CEFAS (UK) and AquaFact.

Keynote speaker will be Michelle Price-Howard from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Science (CEFAS). Price-Howard works with CEFAS as principal scientist for seafood safety and is an environmental microbiologist with 20 years of experience in environmental assessment, water quality and food safety microbiology.

Price-Howard’s work has included environmental risk assessments for sanitary surveys of both aquaculture and wild-harvest shellfisheries for Food Standards Scotland. She has also been involved in providing training at EU and national level on the planning and conducting of sanitary surveys.

In addition, the SFPA will provide presentations on data management and shellfish classification as well as an update on the sanitary survey programme in Ireland.

There will also be an extended session to allow for a discussion on any topic relevant to sanitary surveys that participants may wish to raise. To help better plan the event, participants are asked to send questions or topics in advance if possible to Una Walton at [email protected].

In-person registration is now closed but the workshop can be accessed remotely via Microsoft Teams (Meeting ID: 340 075 071 736; Passcode: g33dRq) or by calling in (audio only) to +353 1 592 3998 with phone conference ID 397 409 122#.

Published in Aquaculture

Extreme marine events such as marine heat waves are increasingly threatening to degrade ocean ecosystems and seafood security with potential devastating consequences to aquatic related businesses.

In order to prepare for such events, the Marine Institute, with colleagues in the Horizon 2020 Innovation Action EuroSea project, has developed a new marine observatory specifically designed to address the needs of the aquaculture sector.

The observatory web platform provides an early warning system that can be accessed at eurosea.marine.ie with a help-desk service for end users to provide suggestions or comments on their user experience.

Frequent end-user interaction was essential from the beginning of the project to ensure the service was in agreement with the needs of the industry.

This observatory integrates data from multiple ocean observing platforms (in-situ databuoys; satellites; numerical models) and provides easy access to information about the oceanographic processes affecting the fish farm facilities and its neighbouring waters.

During the EuroSea project, two oceanographic moorings with sensors developed by Xylem were deployed at the pilot sites at Deenish Island in Co Kerry and El Campello on the Costa Blanca in south-eastern Spain.

For the Irish site, satellite observations of ocean colour and sea surface temperature are provided together with information on the occurrence of marine heat waves.

The web portal also provides access to sea surface temperature historical data, starting from 1982, for any site within the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) selected by the user in an interactive application.

Modelled forecasts (eg water temperature, significant wave heights) are linked to the warning system for the EuroSea demonstration sites with a facility for end users to receive notifications on their phone. The thresholds that trigger these warnings were agreed with the end-users when the system was developed.

Finally, best practice guidelines were developed for other partners around the world who plan to develop similar marine observatories. As such, the software is open-access and a scientific paper was recently published in Frontiers in Marine Science.

Published in Aquaculture

The Marine Institute has released a new high-resolution geomorphology map on Ireland’s Marine Atlas for most of the Irish continental shelf to support ocean science, environment and biodiversity management and offshore renewable energy development.

Geomorphology is the scientific study of landforms and the processes that shape them.

The project, funded via the Marine Institute research grant scheme, has been developed in collaboration with the Marine Geoscience Research Group in UCC and the Geological Survey Ireland.

Through the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications funded Irish National Seabed Survey (INSS 2003-2006) and INFOMAR programmes (2006-2026), over 90% of the seafloor within Ireland’s designated and extended continental shelf area, which is in excess of 714,000 km², has been surveyed in high resolution by Geological Survey Ireland and Marine Institute.

This extensive dataset has enabled numerous research groups to delve into the transformative forces that have shaped our ocean seabed over time, including glaciations, sea level changes, currents and tides.

The combination of high-quality data, the application of advanced semi-automated mapping techniques and the recent development of international classification standards has offered the opportunity to create the most detailed and comprehensive geomorphological map of the Irish continental shelf to date.

Classification of all seabed features has undergone rigorous validation, drawing from an extensive body of scientific literature spanning the past three decades. By applying a consistent approach nationally, the map provides a unique resource to inform on a range of pressing issues within the marine environment.

Seabed mapping plays a pivotal role in addressing future challenges for the development and protection of the Irish offshore region.

Ireland’s Marine Atlas

While bathymetry data (eg water depth) alone provide a fundamental metric for many applications, geoscientists can add significant value by providing further data, analysis, and knowledge to better characterise the seabed.

The Marine Institute says this new geomorphology map is a prime example of how to transform scientific data into an important digital reference for policymakers, marine industries (eg offshore renewables, fisheries and aquaculture) and future marine scientists.

Marine spatial planning and resource management decisions will continue to be informed by the increasing range of digital products produced by the Marine Institute and partners.

Examples of practical application of geomorphology include decision support for the optimal placement of new offshore infrastructure; decommissioning of existing structures with considerations for their potential impacts on marine ecosystems; identification of constraints related to potential offshore carbon capture and storage (CCS); designation of future marine protected areas; and the development of more accurate models for coastal change and resilience.

The primary results of this initiative comprise 10 GIS layers that not only show the extent and location of thousands of seabed features but also detail the geological characteristics and environmental conditions responsible for their formation.

These data are now freely accessible and integrated into Ireland’s Marine Atlas under the Geology theme.

Ireland’s Marine Atlas, developed and maintained by the Marine Institute with funding from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, serves as a comprehensive resource for viewing and downloading marine environmental data relevant to Ireland's reporting obligations under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

A full description of the geomorphology mapping methodologies, the classification scheme and the outputs are available. A scientific peer reviewed article describing the mapping process and outcome has also been published in the Journal of Maps.

Published in Marine Science

Young student scientist Juliette Ó Súilleabháin recently completed a project studying the conservation of white-clawed crayfish with the support of the Marine Institute.

Juliette — a second-year student in St Mary’s Secondary School Mallow — approached the institute’s Marine Environment and Food Safety Services team about her individual project: Assessing the Presence of White-Clawed Crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) in the Blackwater catchment area of Mallow using Environmental DNA Analysis and the identification of possible Ark Sites.

The student accompanied staff on fieldwork so she could learn non-invasive sampling techniques for this protected species. Subsequently, she visited the labs and learned how to extract DNA and run PCRs.

Her project has since qualified in the Biological & Ecological category for the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, which opens to visitors from Thursday 11 January at Dublin’s RDS.

Juliette explained how her project came about: “I wanted to do a Young Scientist project on an ecological topic and contacted some ecologists for guidance. My original project involved the investigation of the presence and distribution of white-clawed crayfish (WCC) on the stretch of the Blackwater River where I live. A very recent crayfish plague outbreak in the Blackwater Catchment decimated the catchment’s crayfish population and put an end to my project.

“After further consultation, I chose the identification of potential WCC conservation ark sites as an alternative project topic. From my research, I learned about environmental DNA (eDNA) and the National Surveillance Programme for Crayfish Plague. I thought eDNA would be a useful tool in screening ark sites, so I contacted Bogna Griffin of the Marine Institute, and she kindly allowed me to accompany her on an eDNA sampling field trip to the Blackwater Catchment, and subsequently invited me to conduct eDNA laboratory work for my project in the Marine Institute in Oranmore, Co Galway.

“A massive thank-you to Bogna and the Marine Institute for giving me such a wonderful experience of a fascinating science topic!”

Supervising scientist Bogna Griffin said: “I was very impressed with [Juliette’s] attitude, the level of her write-up, and the depth of her knowledge in ecology and molecular biology. We are all very proud of her in the Fish Health Unit and wish her and all students the best of luck in January at the exhibition.”

Staff from the Marine Institute will be on hand as part of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Labs exhibit at the 2024 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, which runs until Saturday 13 January. Tickets are available HERE.

Published in Marine Science

The new Chief Executive of the State marine research agency, Dr Rick Officer, takes up duty this morning, (Monday, January 8).

He has been Vice-President for Research and Innovation at the Atlantic Technological University, established in April 2022 when three Institutes of Technology – Galway/Mayo, Sligo and Letterkenny, with over 20,000 students - were merged.

He is looking forward to embracing the challenges and realising opportunities that the oceans present.

In this podcast interview, he tells me that he is looking forward to embracing the challenges and realising opportunities that the oceans present. “There are huge economic imperatives and opportunities that will require an enormous amount of greater knowledge to navigate towards achieving these possibilities.”

Dr Officer previously worked with the Marine Institute eighteen years ago. He says that demand for its services is expanding.

Listen to the Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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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