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Waterways Ireland has launched an ambitious 10-year plan which seeks to deliver on the enhancement, restoration and conservation of Ireland’s inland waterways, greenways and blueways.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways aims for a “reimagining” of the historic waterways under its remit “to make them more sustainable and accessible while offering enhanced recreational opportunities for users, including watersports, angling, cycling, walking, boating and more”.

This long-term vision will be supported by an initial investment of around €200 million in funding over the first three years of a 10-year cycle.

One of the key commitments is investment in and and redevelopment of the Dublin Docklands and the canals running directly through the capital city, the Royal Canal and Grand Canal, to bring these areas to a standard seen in other European capitals.

Outside of Dublin, a significant focus will be put on the next phase of development of the Ulster Canal, which Waterways Ireland hails as one of its “largest engineering feats ever undertaken”.

Some €120 million in capital funding will be invested in phase three, comprising a 10km stretch from Castle Saunderson to Clonfad. This will link with phase two, from Clonfad to Clones, where a new marina is under construction and works are scheduled to finish in time for the 2024 season in March.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph about the third phase, Waterways Ireland chief executive John McDonagh said: “I can say confidently we have support from a wide consensus of the community on both sides of the border for this particular project. The community in general has been waiting for a long time for this to happen.”

Also core to the 10-year plan is sustainability, with Waterways Ireland including “directional pathway” that looks to enhance and upgrade the waterways for the public good “in a manner that is harmonious with the surrounding environments [and] supports the ecological integrity, while promoting biodiversity and eco-friendly practices”.

Commenting on the launch of the plan, McDonagh added: “We have established a significant number of opportunities in this 10-year plan to transform and enhance Ireland’s waterways, greenways and blueways into attractive visitor experiences for locals and tourists alike, while providing added economic, social and environmental benefit to these local communities.

“We want to encourage more people to use our waterways and natural amenities, while conserving the cultural heritage to ensure future generations enjoy everything our waterways have to offer.”

The full plan is available to read on the Waterways Ireland website HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

Ireland’s Rural Development Minister has called on Northern Ireland leaders to consider investment in restoring the full length of the Ulster Canal.

Speaking at the site of a new marina in Clones, part of the second phase of Irish Government-funded works on the cross-border waterway, Heather Humphreys told BBC News that rural communities would benefit from the extension of the project across Armagh and Tyrone to Lough Neagh.

“My ambition is that we can move on and forge ahead and get the whole way to the border and then work its way up to Lough Neagh and then up to the Lagan in due course,” she said. “This is transformative for communities here.”

This past August, Taoiseach Micheál Martin laid the foundation stone in Clones to mark the start of works on Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal restoration project.

When completed, the 17km link between Lough Erne in Fermanagh and Clones in Co Monaghan will be fully reopened to recreation for the first time since its closure to commercial traffic more than 90 years ago.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin is due to lay the foundation stone this morning (Tuesday 30 August) to mark the start of Phase 2 works on the Ulster Canal restoration project.

The Taoiseach will be joined at Ulster Canal Stores in Clones, Co Monaghan by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien and Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys.

Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan and Northern Ireland Minister for Infrastructure, John O’Dowd are also due to attend the event which marks the latest stage in restoring the 180-year-canal.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal restoration involves expenditure of €20 million in developing a new marina and two new access bridges along with repairs to an existing masonry arch bridge and a sustainable water supply.

It is due to involve work on about a kilometre of canal and towpath, with a looped walk and an amenity area on the canal route.

The amenity area will include car parking, bus and trailer spaces, a service block and picnic, and will be connected to the town and existing playground.

This phase is expected to be completed next year, according to Waterways Ireland, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways.

Work on the Ulster Canal began in 1841 and it was open to commercial traffic within the year.

The navigation combining river and canal was about 93km long, taking a route through counties Fermanagh, Cavan, Monaghan, Tyrone and Armagh.

The last trading boat used the canal in 1929, and it officially closed in 1931.
 
In 2020 the first phase of the Ulster Canal’s restoration was completed, with around 2.5km of new river navigation along the Finn between Quivvy Lough and Castle Saunderson.

It involved dredging the River Finn, constructing of a new lateral canal and navigation arch at Derrykerrib bridge and installing a new floating jetty at Castle Saunderson.

The contract for this second phase was signed in late July of this year by Waterways Ireland chief executive John McDonagh and Jons Civil Engineering Company managing director John Pentony at an event attended by ministers O’Brien and Humphreys.

The investment of €20 million in funding under the Programme for Government for this phase is supported by €8 million from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, €6 million from the Shared Island Fund and €6 million from the Department of Rural and Community Development, according to Waterways Ireland.

Published in Inland Waterways

Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal restoration has been officially initiated with a contract signing in Clones, Co Monaghan this morning (Monday 25 July).

The contract was signed by Waterways Ireland chief executive John McDonagh and John Pentony, managing director of Jons Civil Engineering Company Ltd in the presence of Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien and Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys.
 
The project, which is due to go on site in August 2022, will involve the development of a new marina, two new access bridges, repairs to an existing masonry arch bridge and a sustainable water supply.

It will also include approximately 1km of restored canal and towpath, with a looped walk and an amenity area on the route of the 180-year-old Ulster Canal in Clones.

The amenity area will include car parking, bus/trailer spaces, a service block and picnic area and will be connected to the town and the existing playground. This phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2023. 
 
The Ulster Canal Redevelopment Phase 2 is a substantial investment of €20m in funding under the Programme for Government. It is supported by €8m in funding from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, €6m in funding from the Shared Island Fund and €6m in funding from the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Works will be undertaken by Jons Civil Engineering Company Ltd. The project will be managed by Waterways Ireland and implemented by Doran Consulting.
 
Minister O’Brien said: “This new amenity — between Clones and Clonfad — will further showcase our waterways heritage and its value to the island. The redeveloped canal is sure to be a welcome draw for locals and visitors alike, enhancing the local area and providing economic opportunity.”
 
Minister Heather Humphreys said: “As somebody who lives only a few miles out the road, I am absolutely delighted that the contracts have been signed today on the long-awaited restoration of the Ulster Canal in Clones.

“The Ulster Canal is a flagship cross-border project and I am delighted to support the development of this unique amenity with almost €6million in funding from my Department. The Ulster Canal will bring huge tourism and economic benefits not just to Clones and Co Monaghan but to the entire Border region.”
 
McDonagh also welcomed the development: “The Ulster Canal is a major link in our waterway network. Phase 2 will see substantial restoration of the canal basin near the historic Canal Stores in Clones and will provide a water-based recreational amenity area there. The Ulster Canal Greenway is also in development and will, in time, complement the canal restoration project.”
 
Work on the Ulster Canal began in 1841 and within the year it was open to commercial traffic. The navigation combining river and canal was circa 93km long, passing through Fermanagh, Cavan, Monaghan, Tyrone, and Armagh. The last trading boat using the canal was in 1929 and it officially closed in 1931.
 
Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2020. It includes some 2.5km of new river navigation along the River Finn between Quivvy Lough and Castle Saunderson. The work programme involved the dredging of the River Finn, construction of a new lateral canal and navigation arch at Derrykerrib bridge and the installation of a new floating jetty at Castle Saunderson.

Published in Inland Waterways

The Irish Independent (subscription required) reports that the Ulster Canal Greenway project has been put on pause due to rising costs.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Phase 2 project was launched in September 2017 to much fanfare — with EU funding contributing to the €4.95 million secured for the route between Smithborough in Co Monaghan and Middletown in Co Armagh.

However, four years on and no ground has been broken on the scheme due to a significant rise in the estimated costs associated with the walking and cycle way.

The greenway is intended to complement the Ulster Canal which is the subject of a multimillion euro restoration project. Last year significant funding from the Shared Island Fund was released to support the implementation of Phase 2 of that project.

Meanwhile, a public consultation on Phase 3 of the greenway from Smithborough to Clones has been launched.

A public drop-in session was held last Tuesday 26 October at Smithborough Community Hall and the next will take place this Wednesday 3 November at Clones Courthouse from 5pm-8pm. For more see the consultation brochure HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, has announced in conjunction with Heather Humphreys, Minister for Rural and Community Development, €6 million of funding for Waterways Ireland to enable the completion of phase two of the restoration of the Ulster Canal.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD said "I am delighted to see the momentum building on Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal project. It has been a long-standing Government priority, with an important North-South dimension, and today's funding announcement will ensure that the pace of progress can be accelerated. This investment has the potential to vastly enhance the lives of people and communities along the border by creating a new amenity to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. It will also breathe new life back into the area, by stimulating economic activity and opening up new tourism opportunities in the region."

In 2007 following a meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council the Ulster Canal Restoration project was added to Waterways Ireland remit. The organisation is tasked with restoring the section from Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh to Clones in Co Monaghan. This is a stretch of approx. 13.5 kilometres. The restoration is being delivered in three phases due to planning and availability of capital.

Phase two of the Ulster Canal restoration focuses on the restoration of the canal between Clones and Clonfad in County Monaghan, including a canal basin marina and amenity area in Clones. In November 2020 Waterways Ireland submitted an application for the €12m funding for Phase 2 from the Rural Regeneration & Development Fund. In December 2020 the Shared Island team within the Department of the Taoiseach announced it would contribute €6m of the €12m.

Announcing the balance of the funding together with the Taoiseach, Minister Heather Humphreys T.D. said "I'm really pleased to join with An Taoiseach today for what is an historic announcement for communities North and South. My Department of Rural and Community Development is to provide over €5.57m in funding for Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal restoration. Already supported by the Shared Island Fund to the sum of 6 million euro, today's announcement will allow Waterways Ireland to proceed with Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal restoration from Clones to Clonfad.

"The Ulster Canal is a unique, flagship cross border project which will bring huge economic benefits to the region. But it will do so much more than that. The Ulster Canal, once re-opened, will represent a permanent symbol of peace and reconciliation on our island – demonstrating the benefits of bringing our communities together.

"Waterways Ireland, who will deliver this project, were one of six North/South bodies established under the Good Friday agreement.

"23 years on from the signing of that historic agreement, today's announcement demonstrates the absolute commitment of the Irish Government to strengthening and protecting the hard won peace on our island."

John McDonagh, Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland welcomed the Taoiseach's statement and that of Minister Humphreys saying "The Ulster Canal is a major link in our waterway network that will see restoration of the canal basin near the historic Canal Stores in Clones and provide a water-based recreational amenity area. This is a wonderful development for the border region and particularly the town of Clones. Securing all of the €12m means we have certainty and can now deliver this section of the project substantially by mid-2023."

Phase 1 was completed in 2019 and is open to the public. It included c.2.5 kilometres of new river navigation along the River Finn between Quivvy Lough and Castle Saunderson. The work programme involved the dredging of the River Finn, construction of a new lateral canal and navigation arch at Derrykerrib bridge and the installation of new floating jetty at Castle Saunderson. This element of the project cost €3m.
The Phase 2 work programme will include a sustainable water source, a new 40 berth marina, 2 new access bridges, repairs to an existing masonry arch bridge, c.1km of restored canal and towpath with a looped walk and an amenity area. The amenity area will have 40 car parking spaces, 8 bus/trailer spaces, a service block and picnic area and will be connected to the town and the existing playground.

Work on the Ulster Canal began 180 years ago (1841) and within the year it was open to commercial traffic. The navigation combining river and canal was circa 93km long, passing through Counties Fermanagh, Cavan, Monaghan, Tyrone and Armagh. The last trading boat using the canal was in 1929 and it officially closed in 1931.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has welcomed the significant funding announcement today by Minister Daragh O'Brien TD and Minister of State Noonan TD from the #Shared Island Fund to support the implementation of Phase 2 of the work on the Ulster Canal.

Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal focuses on the restoration of the canal between Clones and Clonfad in County Monaghan, including a canal basin marina and amenity area in Clones.

Acting Chief Executive John Mc Donagh said " Waterways Ireland is well advanced in our preparations to enable us to mobilise this project on the Ulster Canal. The Ulster Canal is a significant link in our waterway network and will be complemented by the Ulster Canal Greenway when it is completed."

In 2007 Waterways Ireland was tasked with exploring the potential restoration of a 13.5 kilometres section of the cross border canal between Upper Lough Erne and Clones. Studies were carried out and designs prepared for planning submissions to Monaghan County Council, Cavan County Council, Clones Town Council and the Department of Environment (NI) in 2011.

Planning permission was granted in 2013 and subsequently extended, where applicable. The restoration is being delivered in phases that are detailed below.

Phase 1 of the restoration work was completed in 2019. This included dredging works to the River Finn, construction of a new lateral canal and navigation arch at Derrykerrib Bridge and the installation of a new mooring facility at Castlesaunderson. Thereby creating c. 2.5km of new navigation to a new boating destination at the Cavan County Council owned Castle Saunderson estate where the International Scouting Centre has been developed.

Phase 2 of the restoration work is ongoing subject to securing required funding. Waterways Ireland was successful in 2019 in securing €325,000 of Category 2 funding under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund for additional engineering studies for a section of the restoration between Clones and Clonfad in County Monaghan. During 2020 Waterways Ireland has utilised this investment to carry out preliminary engineering studies and tourism recreation studies to progress the restoration of an 800m reach of canal between Clones and Clonfad in County Monaghan, including a canal basin and amenity area in Clones.

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Work on the second phase of restoring the Ulster Canal has picked up this year, with related projects now on track to be completed by 2023.

That was the message from Heritage Minister Darragh O’Brien in a recent written response to a Dáil question from Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein TD for Cavan-Monaghan.

Funding secured in late 2019, with 25% matched by his department, enabled Waterways Ireland to carry out preliminary engineering studies for the restoration of an 800m stretch of the inland waterway between Clones and Clonfad on Co Monaghan, the minister confirmed.

Restoration works will also include construction of a new canal basin and amenity area; two new access bridges and restoration of an existing masonry arch bridge; and towpaths along the banks creating a looped walkway along the canal.

The studies included a commission to investigate sourcing a sustainable water supply; site investigation work for design proposals and project estimates; an economic appraisal; and a tourism and recreation study to assess opportunities for watersports and leisure adjacent to the Ulster Canal Stores Visitor Centre in Clones.

The minister added that work relating to land requirements and purchase arrangements for this section has also commenced, and will facilitate the submission of a Category 1 application to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund by Tuesday 1 December.

Subject to securing further investment, Waterways Ireland proposes delivering this phase of the restoration over the years 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Meanwhile, Minister O’Brien also confirmed that plans for the wider Ulster Canal Greenway are moving apace, with planning applications for its first phase to be submitted this month.

The Ulster Canal Greenway will create 22km of new cross-border greenway between Smithborough and Middletown. The project consists of two stages.

First is the cross-border section from Monaghan town to Middletown, with planning applications on both sides of the border due to be submitted by the end of this month.

Plans are in train for the second stage, from Smithborough to Monaghan town, with planning approval expected to be in place by mid-2021.

Tenders for construction will be developed in the latter part of 2021, with a view to awarding contracts the following year and seeing construction completed by mid-2023.

“Council staff will jointly develop and coordinate delivery of community engagement programmes in each council area to promote use of the developed greenway,” the minister added.

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Proposals in the Fianna Fail/Fine Gael joint framework for a potential ‘Grand Coalition’ government could be a boon for the Ulster Canal and other cross-border infrastructure.

Under the heading ‘A Shared Island’, the draft document describes the formation of a ‘Unit’ to work towards a consensus on a united island, which includes ensuring the implementation of the recent Northern Ireland deal, New Decade, New Approach.

“This will include investing in cross-border infrastructure, such as the A5, the Narrow Water Bridge, cross-border greenways, the Ulster Canal, as well as examining high-speed cross-border rail services,” the document states.

Work has been slow since Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal Greenway project was launched more than two-and-a-half years ago, with the most recent focus on restoration of the inland waterway between Lough Erne and the terminal at Clones in Co Monaghan.

New public moorings at Castlesaunderson, near Belturbet in Co Cavan, were set for completion last autumn, as The Anglo-Celt reports.

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#InlandWaters - A series of three ‘community information events’ on the next phase of the Ulster Canal Greenway begins this week, with a meeting at Tyholland Community Centre in Co Monaghan from 4pm to 8pm tomorrow (Tuesday 2 October).

This will be followed by events at Middletown Community Parish Hall, Co Armagh on Wednesday 10 October, and Smithborough Community Hall, Co Monaghan on Thursday 18 October, both also from 4pm to 8pm.

Waterways Ireland; Monaghan County Council; Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council; and East Border Region Ltd are working in partnership to deliver Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal Greenway.

Landowners, local communities and the general public are invited to these information events to find out more about the project.​

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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