Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Inland afloat headers

 

Displaying items by tag: Salmon

The Loughs Agency will retain salmon carcass tag numbers for licence holders for the 2023 season in line with the policy followed in the previous two years.

Based on the information collected in 2022, a continual fall in salmon numbers has been recorded year on year, and consequently the precautionary approach previously adopted needs to be maintained, the agency says.

Its interim policy was introduced for the 2020/2021 season whereby the number of tags issued with a game angling licence was reduced to a maximum of one blue tag (1 March to 31 May) and two black tags (1 June to 31 October).

The agency says that after careful evaluation it was decided to maintain the previous position adopted in both 2021 and 2022 while introducing in-year reviews of the salmon runs based on fish counter data, annual angling returns and run strength.

The principal objective of this measure is to carefully manage salmon in the Foyle system due to concern from within the agency over conservation levels of the species.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Loughs Agency has suspended netting in the Foyle area and restricted angling ion the River Finn as a result of a significant drop in recorded salmon migrations upstream.

“It is the view of some stakeholders that the agency should manage carcass tags on a catchment-by-catchment basis,” it says. “The use of real-time figures can be beneficial in informing decision-making on the number of tags to be distributed per year, and how many tags can be given out for angling in each catchment.”

This viewpoint is to be considered in regulatory changes once actions from the review can be implemented, the agency adds.

In the majority of rivers throughout Northern Ireland and in many locations globally, catch and release is now mandatory for salmon angling due to the pressures on sustainable populations. In these areas, no carcass tags are issued, and anglers are forbidden from retaining any fish.

It is encouraging that most anglers in the Foyle area are aware of these pressures, and now voluntarily practice catch and release, the Loughs Agency says.

The agency also emphasised that it “recognises the value of anglers on the rivers and their contributions towards sustainability”.

Published in Angling
Tagged under

To boost conservation efforts, anglers who wish to catch and keep wild salmon from Cork’s Lower River Lee in Cork in 2023 are advised by Inland Fisheries Ireland that ‘brown tag’ regulations are coming into force from Wednesday 1 February.

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

Under brown tag regulations, an angler who wishes to ‘harvest’ a wild salmon (ie take or keep it) must attach a brown tag as well as a standard blue tag to the fish.

To help conserve stocks of wild salmon within the Lower River Lee, No 5 or Cork District, a total of 180 brown tags — 28 more than that issued in 2022 — will be available for the season and will be distributed to anglers with a 2023 rod licence through a series of online lotteries.

Up to a quarter of the available number of brown tags can be issued at one time, under the Wild Salmon and Seatrout Tagging Scheme Regulations. Therefore, 45 brown tags will be selected through the first online lottery on Friday 27 January.

Any anglers interested in entering the first draw are invited to email their request to Inland Fisheries Ireland at [email protected] from Wednesday 11 until Wednesday 25 January. Within this email, anglers must provide their name, contact address, contact telephone number and they must also quote their 2023 Salmon Licence number.

Anglers with a 2023 rod licence who are not allocated a brown tag are only permitted to fish for salmon on a ‘catch and release’ basis on the Lower River Lee, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody.

Further details are available from Inland Fisheries Ireland’s website or by phoning its Macroom office on (026) 41221.

The brown tag regulations come into force on the Lower River Lee in Cork from 1 February and will remain in place until midnight on 30 September.

Published in Angling

The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, has approved legislation that will govern the wild salmon and sea trout fisheries in 2023. These will come into effect from Sunday, 1st January 2023.

Minister Ryan said: “81 rivers will be available for salmon and sea trout fishing in 2023. This facilitates careful management of this important natural resource, for which conservation and sustainability are paramount. 48 of the rivers will be fully open, with a further 33 open to ‘catch and release’ angling. The general improvements in stocks from 2022 have been maintained for 2023. However, collective effort and persistence are required to see the state of all individual river stocks improve over time. The stocks themselves are completely dependent on everybody increasing our efforts in facing up to environmental, climate and biodiversity impacts from human interventions.”

To support the legislation for 2023, Minister Ryan received management advice from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in relation to over 140 genetically individual wild salmon stocks in Ireland, which was based on individual scientific assessments. The assessments are carried out every year by the Technical Expert Group on Salmon (TEGOS) – an all-island independent scientific group comprising experts from a range of bodies.

IFI, supported by TEGOS, determined: which of the individual stocks were sufficiently above their specific conservation limit to be open to fishing; which rivers did not meet a sufficient level above the limit but met a sufficient percentage of the limit to be classified for catch and release angling; and which rivers were so far below the limit as to close them to any exploitation.

The conservation limit is the number of adult spawning fish required to maintain a healthy and sustainable stock in each individual river. The key issue to support increased stocks is improvement in water quality. Many of our rivers are not at a sufficiently high water quality level to support sustainable stocks, often caused by agricultural activities, and to a lesser extent, insufficient treatment of waste water.

This year’s advice was also made available as part of a statutory public consultation process during which written submissions from stakeholders (including the recreational and commercial fishing and the environmental sectors) were sought on the draft regulations.

Management advice based on the TEGOS assessment of rivers/estuaries/harbours is that:

  • 48 rivers are to be open as a sustainable surplus has been identified in these rivers;
  • 33 rivers are to be classified as open for “catch and release” angling;
  • 66 rivers are to be closed as they have no sustainable surplus available.

Minister Ryan added: “Ireland has long been internationally recognised for embedding the conservation imperative as a vital component of our management of the precious salmon resource. While the policy has served us well for more than a decade, throughout 2022 my Department has been evaluating the effectiveness of current management policy and its implementation. I intend, as part of the broader inland fisheries policy review currently underway, to set out options for improvement, with an even greater focus on conservation, in our management regime and for modernising licensing requirements, to ensure access to the resource where its conservation and biodiversity needs are met.”

Inland Fisheries bye-laws 2022

  • S.I. No. 685 of 2022 Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2022:

These regulations provide for the quotas of fish that can be harvested by commercial fishing engines and rod and line from those rivers identified in Schedule 2 of the regulations. The regulations also provide for the use of brown tags in specified rivers which are identified in Schedule 4.

  • Angling Bye-law No. 996, 2022: 

This bye-law prohibits the use of any fishhooks, other than single or double barbless hooks, and also prohibits the use of worms as bait in angling for all species of fish in the waters specified in the bye-law.  This is to avoid the use of hooks and baits which are not conducive to fish survival and to ensure that the objective of catch and release fishing is not frustrated.

  • Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Bag Limits) Bye-law No. 997, 2022:

This bye-law provides for an annual bag limit of 10 fish being either salmon or sea trout (over 40 cm) per angler and provides for a season bag limit of three fish in the period 1st January to 11th May, a daily bag limit of three fish from 12th May to 31st August and a daily bag limit of one fish from 1st September to the end of the season. The bye-law also provides for the use of single or double barbless hooks and prohibits the use of worms as bait once the specified numbers of fish have been caught in the specified periods.

 

  • Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Catch and Release) Bye-law No. 998, 2022:

This bye-law provides for catch and release in respect of salmon and sea trout (over 40cm) in rivers that are meeting at least 50% of their Conservation Limit as mentioned in the bye-law. The bye-law also provides for the use of single or double barbless hooks and prohibits the use of worms as bait in angling for salmon and sea trout over 40cm.

  • Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (River Suir) Bye-law No. 999, 2022:

This bye-law provides for catch and release in angling for salmon (any size) and sea trout (over 40cm) in the River Suir (including the waters of the Rivers Clodiagh, Lingaun and Blackwater) and also prohibits the use of worms, prawn, shrimp or any other crustacean, or artificial forms thereof, as bait and any fish hooks other than single or double barbless hooks during the period 17th March to 30th September.

  • Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (River Slaney) Bye-law No. 1000, 2022:

This bye-law extends the annual close season in angling for salmon, sea trout and brown trout in the River Slaney and its tributaries from 1st September to 16th March in any year. The bye-law also provides for the use of artificial fly only using single or double barbless hooks upstream of the Railway Bridge, Enniscorthy, and provides for the use of single barbless hooks and a ban on worms as bait downstream of the Railway Bridge, when angling for salmon or sea trout (any size).

  • Conservation of Sea Trout Bye-law No. 1001, 2022:

This bye-law provides for a daily bag limit of three sea trout (less than 40cm in length) and provides for the use of single or double barbless hooks and prohibits the use of worms as bait once the specified number of sea trout have been caught.

  • Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Closed Rivers) Bye-law No. C.S. 333, 2022:

Prohibits the taking or attempting to take by rod and line salmon and sea trout (over 40cm) in the rivers specified in the bye-law.

Published in Angling
Tagged under

State-owned forestry company Coillte and its contractor, Oliver Kelly Timber Harvesting Ltd, have both pleaded guilty to breaches of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 in a case brought by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Following reports of pollution in November 2021 along the Glenaboy River, a tributary of the Bride River in Co Cork, officers from IFI found heavy deposits of silt, vehicle tracks in the river bed and a lack of adequate silt control in an area where Oliver Kelly Timber Harvesting Ltd had been carrying out thinning operations on behalf of Coillte.

As a result, IFI estimated that significant damage had been done to spawning beds and that a valuable stretch of the river had been lost to spawning wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout that year.

Sitting before Judge Colm Roberts at Mallow District Court on Monday 28 November, Coillte pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 171 (1) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959.

Also before the court on that date was Oliver Kelly Timber Harvesting Ltd, which Judge Roberts believed were the main instigators of the silt discharge to the Glenaboy River.

Judge Roberts afforded Coillte the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act and ordered a payment of €2,000 to Tallow TidyTowns Committee.

Oliver Kelly Timber Harvesting Ltd were also found guilty of a breach of Section 171 as well as Section 173 of the 1959 Act and Section 3 of the Local Government (Water Pollution) (Amendment) Act 1977. The company was also given the benefit of the Probation Act and ordered to pay €2,000 to the Tallow Anglers Association, €1,500 to the Tallow TidyTowns Committee and post a bond of €1,500 for a period of two years under Section 1-1(2) of the Probation Act.

The court heard evidence that IFI officers, including senior fisheries environmental officer Andrew Gillespie, visited the location between Sunday 20 and Tuesday 22 November following reports of pollution.

There was evidence of silt in the river over a five-kilometre stretch downstream of the thinning operation’s location. Gillespie highlighted that the time of the occurrence, in November, was particularly relevant as it was the critical spawning period and that the effect of the silt discharge would be to smother any eggs deposited in the spawning gravels.

Speaking in court, Judge Roberts remarked that Coillte “didn’t properly supervise” the thinning operations and that their contractor “didn’t supervise properly as he was overstretched,” before observing that “when State agencies fail in their obligations, we are in big trouble”.

Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District at IFI welcomed the decision, noting that neither Coillte nor their contractor had been before the courts before and had cooperated fully with IFI to implement immediate mitigation measures at the site.

Speaking after verdict was delivered, Long said: “Located in the Munster Blackwater Special Area of Conservation, the Glenaboy River is a very important spawning ground for returning wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout, which are very vulnerable species protected by conservation measures and legislation.

“Sadly, the damage that was done to these spawning beds through pollution was significant, meaning that a valuable stretch of this river had been lost for spawning salmon and sea trout last year.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched a funding call of up to €1 million to support vital conservation projects around the country through the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund.

Since 2016, more than €6 million in grants have been awarded to over 280 projects throughout the country under various funding schemes operated by IFI.

From now until Friday 16 December, eligible angling clubs, fishery owners and other stakeholders are invited to express their interest in applying for funding to support fisheries conservation through IFI’s Habitats and Conservation Scheme.

Priority will be given to projects that focus on habitat rehabilitation and conservation, such as rehabilitating damaged river habitats, improving water quality and helping fish overcome physical barriers like weirs.

In similar schemes in 2022, a total of €1,123,000 in funding was approved for 35 habitats and conservation projects based in Cavan, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Leitrim, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Wexford, Westmeath and Wicklow.

A rock ramp fish pass on the Burren River at Ballinacarrig, Co Carlow | Credit: IFIA rock ramp fish pass on the Burren River at Ballinacarrig, Co Carlow | Credit: IFI

Suzanne Campion, head of business development at IFI said that the scheme’s focus is on protecting and conserving fish species and their habitats for future generations.

“Since 2016, projects under the Habitats and Conservation Fund have delivered approximately 29km of in-stream maintenance works and 37 kilometres of habitat restoration works. As well as that, 83km of spawning and nursery habitats have been made more accessible to migratory fish species, through five fish passage projects,” she said.

“Under the Habitats and Conservation Scheme, which is made possible through fishing licence and permit income, groups can now apply for grants to fund projects and measures in 2023 to continue this vital environmental work.”

In addition to the €1 million in funding available through the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund, up to €50,000 is available through the Midlands Fisheries Fund.

An information guide about the funding call is available to download. As part of the two-step process, all applicants must firstly complete an ‘Expression of Interest’ application on Inland Fisheries Ireland’s online grant management portal before 5.30pm on Friday 16 December.

After expressions of interest have been completed, full applications that align to fund objectives can be submitted via the online grant management portal until 5.30pm on Friday 27 January 2023. Decisions on applications and grants will be announced by IFI in May 2023.

Published in Angling

On a special climate-focused edition of RTÉ’s Prime Time this past week, the news programme put the plight of Ireland’s wild salmon stocks in the spotlight.

Reporter Oonagh Smyth visited the Dawros River in Connemara where salmon runs have allegedly shrunk from as many as 3,000 two decades ago to less than 900 today.

These figures lead to an even worse picture nation-wide, with data showing that only 150,000 wild salmon returned to their spawning grounds in 2019 — a decline of almost 80% on the more than 685,000 salmon recorded in 2000.

Various reasons are behind this alarming fall, with climate change chief among them — forcing salmon to migrate further to find colder waters, and interrupting the food webs that sustain the fish at sea and in our rivers.

But local factors have also been blamed, including the licensing of open-cage salmon aquaculture against which conservation groups and some arms of the State are united in their opposition due to the risks of sea lice infestations.

RTÉ News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has opened a new footbridge over the Owenea River near Glenties in Co Donegal.

In a welcome boost for angling access on the Owenea fishery, the new steel footbridge was commissioned by IFI to replace the former ‘Green Bridge’, which was constructed in the 1970s but had fallen into disrepair.

The new steel footbridge is now officially open to anglers and the public.

Funded through the National Strategy for Angling Development, the custom-designed footbridge will provide safe access to both banks of the Owenea fishery between Beats 4 and 5, near Glenties.

The Owenea fishery, which is directly managed by IFI, remains one of the most productive salmon rivers in Co Donegal.

The fishery has a good run of salmon and sea trout as well as a resident stock of small brown trout and is popular with local anglers as well as visiting sport fishers travelling from abroad.

Milton Matthews, director of the North-Western River Basin District with IFI, announced the opening of the bridge, saying: “The Owenea fishery in Donegal is a popular destination for both local and visitor salmon anglers to the area.

“Installation of this new bridge is the culmination of over four years of work in terms of completion of the various safety, engineering and associated environmental reports and planning permission requirements needed.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland would like to acknowledge the contribution and support of various local landowners, contractors, Donegal County Council, local angling clubs and dommunity development groups, who have all contributed to and welcomed the successful delivery of this project.”

IFI has an ongoing programme of maintenance and upgrading of angling access along the Owenea River, including the improvement of angling infrastructure such as stiles, footbridges and walkways.

Constructed in the 1970s, the Green Bridge was used extensively over the years by anglers, recreational walkers and local residents.

However, following safety audits conducted by IFI, consultant engineers were commissioned in 2021 to conduct a full examination of the structural integrity and suitability of the structure as a pedestrian footbridge. The report confirmed that the steelwork of the existing bridge was severely corroded and no longer fit for purpose.

Although IFI didn’t own or manage the Green Bridge, the State agency responsible for the conservation and protection of freshwater fish and habitats — and the development and promotion of angling — undertook responsibility for its removal and installation of a replacement galvanised footbridge to ensure safe access to both banks of the Owenea River for the angling community.

Before the old footbridge could be removed however, IFI had to commission several reports and surveys, including Appropriate Assessment Screening, a freshwater pearl mussel survey and Natura Impact Statement (NIS). Planning permission was then sought through Donegal County Council for removal and replacement of the old bridge.

Following a public procurement process, Source Civil Ltd was appointed as the contractor to remove the original Green Bridge and to prefabricate and install a new custom-designed footbridge from W.D. Buchanan & Co Ltd. This necessitated a temporary road closure and traffic diversion whilst the Green Bridge was removed and the new bridge was lifted into place by Quinn Crane Hire.  

Matthews added: “Completion of this new footbridge is a vital element in the overall management and development of the Owenea salmon fishery and a welcome addition for angling access and the local community.”

Published in Angling

Salmon and sea trout anglers who fished during the 2022 season are being reminded to return their logbooks and any unused gill tags at the end of the season.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is encouraging such anglers to return their angling logbooks — setting out their fishing and catch record — and any unused gill tags from 2022 if they have finished fishing for this year or once the season has closed.

Under the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, anglers can return these in one of three ways:

  • Using the postage pre-paid business return envelope that was supplied at the time of licence purchase (preferred option).
  • Posting the logbook and unused gill tags to the Inland Fisheries Ireland office address that is displayed on their licence or logbook.
  • Scanning and emailing logbook and licence documents to IFI at [email protected] Important: if you are choosing this option, please scan all sides of documents, including continuation pages, to ensure that the licence names and number can be correctly linked to the logbook.

On average, 70% of anglers in Ireland return their logbooks and these returns provide vital information regarding the status and management of our wild Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout stocks into the future.

In accordance with the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, anglers in Ireland are required by law to return their completed logbook and all unused tags to the issuing office of IFI within seven days of licence expiry, and no later than Wednesday 19 October.

As part of the scheme, an angler must attach a valid gill tag to a salmon (any size) or sea trout (over 40cm) harvested, immediately on landing. They must enter details of their catch and/or gill tag used into their logbook.

Questions or queries should be directed to [email protected] and IFI says it will respond as quickly as possible.

Published in Angling

A research award targeted at early-career researchers has been granted to Dr Joshka Kaufmann of the Marine Institute to investigate and predict how quickly natural Atlantic salmon evolve to human-driven environmental change. The SFI-IRC Pathway programme, a new collaborative initiative between Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Irish Research Council (IRC), has been awarded to Dr Kaufmann to conduct state-of-the-art research at the Marine Institute on the evolutionary potential of natural populations of Atlantic salmon in Ireland and develop an independent track record in this important climate-biodiversity research nexus.

As current rates of planetary stress are leading to unprecedented declines in natural populations, understanding the potential of iconic species such as the Atlantic salmon to adapt to human impacts has become crucial for their preservation and management.

Dr Ciaran Kelly, Director of Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services of the Marine Institute said, “In line with national, European and global priorities on climate and biodiversity, this research will identify vulnerabilities and ultimately offer strategies for optimal conservation; helping to balance sustainable aquaculture with the interactions between natural and aquaculture environments. In addition to strengthening Irish research capabilities, the project will contribute towards evidence-based policy-making at national and international level, providing advice through ICES (International Council for Exploration of the Seas) to NASCO (North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation) and stakeholder groups such as the Atlantic Salmon Trust.”

The Marine Institute Newport research station in the Burrishoole catchment is a proven long-term natural observatory and an index Irish Atlantic salmon population. The systematic monitoring and sampling of salmon in the Burrishoole system (Co. Mayo) since 1958 provides a unique opportunity to link temporal changes in size, demography and genetic makeup of salmon with climate change, overfishing and mixing with cultured fish.

Prof. Philip McGinnity (UCC), Marine Institute Principal Investigator in Fish Population Genetics and lead on the SFI Investigators Award said,“Long-term ecological (and evolutionary) research is crucial to understanding how the world is changing and for informing conservation and protection programmes. Long-term studies with consistent data collection is rare, particularly in Ireland. As anadromous fish bridge freshwater and marine environments, they also provide an invaluable resource to understand the dynamic interconnections between land and sea and the role human actions such as climate change and overfishing.”

Dr Kaufmann of the Marine Institute said, “Building upon recent research successes constructing whole wild population pedigrees in SFI and Beaufort programmes, my plan is, with the support of a PhD student, to use next-generation high-throughput sequencing technologies and climate attribution to evaluate the evolutionary potential of natural populations of Atlantic salmon. Utilising these unique and irreplaceable multi-decadal pedigrees, I will identify how selection on traits changed with time and how this can impact the characteristics of salmon in the next decades.”

This knowledge will help provide advice for conservation and management of this iconic species under future climate scenarios and help reconcile the competing goals of aquaculture, fisheries and conservation. Dr Kaufmann will be hosted by the Marine Institute, Ireland's national agency for marine research and development, and work closely with other national and international research funders to promote the value of Ireland's unique marine resource.

This project is one of 53 research projects funded by the SFI-IRC Pathway programme to support early career research across all disciplines and to encourage interdisciplinary approaches.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

The deadline to enter the third online lottery for ‘brown tags’ for wild salmon angling on the Lower River Lee is 5pm on Thursday 9 June.

A further 38 brown tags will be issued on Monday 13 June by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), following the second lottery for 38 tags on 11 April, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Under brown tag regulations, an angler who wishes to ‘harvest’ a wild salmon and keep it must attach a brown tag as well as a standard blue tag to the fish.

To help conserve stocks of wild salmon within the Lower River Lee, No 5 or Cork District, a total of 152 brown tags are available for the season and have been distributed to anglers with a 2022 rod licence through a series of online lotteries since January.

Anglers interested in entering the third draw are being asked to apply online between now and 5pm on Thursday 9 June. Only one entry is permitted per licence holder into the draw. Entries will not be accepted by email in this draw.

Anglers with a 2022 rod licence who are not allocated a brown tag are only permitted to fish for salmon on a ‘catch and release’ basis on the Lower River Lee, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody.

In addition, anglers who received a tag in either of the previous draws may enter this draw only if they have used that tag. Anglers must be able to provide evidence of using the tag by supplying a photo of the double tagged salmon and the relevant entry in their angler’s logbook.

Further details and conditions are available from the IFI website, by phoning its Macroom office on (026) 41221 or emailing [email protected]

Published in Angling
Page 1 of 18

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

Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2022?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating