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Ireland’s plan to halt biodiversity decline in the marine and terrestrial environment is to be put on a statutory footing, Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan has said.

Mr Noonan also said he intends to introduce stronger biodiversity responsibilities for public bodies.

He was speaking at the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15 in Montreal, Canada.

The junior minister said a memorandum will be brought to Cabinet shortly, seeking to restore the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2016 to the Dáil order paper.

The Bill had completed all stages in the Dáil and the Seanad, but lapsed with the dissolution of the 32nd Dáil in January 2020.

He said that further work on drafting the Bill has been undertaken, and it is now ready to “recommence its journey through the Houses of the Oireachtas”.

The Bill underpins the National Biodiversity Action Plan in legislation and, once ratified, will require public bodies to submit regular reports to the minister which will outline the measures they are undertaking to relevant biodiversity plans,

“Putting the National Biodiversity Action Plan on a statutory footing and strengthening the biodiversity responsibilities of public bodies are long-held ambitions of mine,” he said.

“These proposals will significantly enhance Ireland’s ability to implement biodiversity action across the country,” he said.

“This couldn’t come at a more crucial time,” Mr Noonan added.

“ As 196 nations come together to agree an ambitious new set of global goals for nature at COP15, we know that what really matters is what happens on the ground. That’s what these new legislative measures are focussing on.”

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Young people with an interest in biodiversity loss in marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments have been invited to apply to join Ireland’s first national children and young people’s assembly dedicated to the issue.

The new Children and Young People’s Assembly aims to inform the national Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss which is sitting this year.

A total of 35 children and young people will be selected randomly across Ireland as assembly members, with applications to join closing on September 18th.

However, all young people aged up to 17 years are invited to submit their views and ideas on biodiversity loss on sea and land throughout the month of September on a new website cyp-biodiversity.ie

The Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss comprises 99 randomly-selected adult members of the public, who are aged 18 and over, and an independent chairperson.

It has been tasked by the Oireachtas with examining how the State can improve its response to the issue of biodiversity loss.

It believes children and young people also have the right to have their say, as biodiversity loss poses a significant threat to children’s right to a healthy, safe environment.

The Children and Young People’s Assembly is being designed by an intergenerational group, comprising a young advisory team and an independent research consortium.

The young advisory team involves nine children and young people from across Ireland, aged between eight and 16 years.

The research consortium includes experts in children’s participation, deliberative democracy, and biodiversity from Dublin City University *(DCU), University College Cork (UCC), and “terre des homes”, an international organisation with a focus on children’s environmental rights.

Elsie (8), a young advisor from Co Tipperary has said she believes it is “important that children and young people like us can have our say because we don’t usually get to be involved in things that adults do and we have lots of interesting things to say.”

Amhairghin (15), a young advisor from Co Donegal and Co Down said that “diversity is the key to this process”.

“If we don’t have ideas coming from every aspect of life, we’ll be stuck with a rigid, one sided argument. It’s also really important that young people deliver these arguments as we are the future. It’s time that we saw the action that is needed,” she has said.

Dr Diarmuid Torney, research consortium lead and an associate professor at DCU’s School of Law and Government, said that Ireland has “developed a strong reputation over the past decade in the inclusion of the voices of the adult population in policymaking through citizens’ assemblies”.

“Through this project, we aim to build on this reputation by creating a robust process to include the voices of children and young people in decision-making on the critical topic of biodiversity loss,”he said.

Katie Reid, research consortium member and children’s environmental rights and participation officer with “terre des homes”, said she has supported children’s participation in Scotland’s Climate Assembly, which was the first citizens’ assembly to involve under 16-year-olds directly.

“I experienced how deliberative democratic processes can be enriched by taking an intergenerational approach that includes our youngest citizens’ views and ideas,” Reid said.

Dr Clodagh Harris, research consortium member and senior lecturer in UCC’s Department of Government and Politics, quoted a native American proverb – “ we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”.

“Decisions made (or not made) on biodiversity loss today will have irreversible consequences for children and young people. It is essential that their views are heard,” Harris noted.

Applications to become an assembly member can be submitted online here

The closing date for applications is Sunday, September 18th. Those randomly selected will need to be available to attend two assembly meetings, on October 7th to 9th in Glencree, Co Wicklow, and on October 21st to 23rd in Killarney, Co Kerry.

An open submissions portal has been created for other children and young people to contribute to the assembly, which will remain open until September 30th.

Submissions can be written, artwork, video clips or photographs, and a short explanatory film is on this link

Published in Marine Wildlife

Sailors, rowers, fishers, anglers and other marine users have been urged to participate in a public consultation for the fourth National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP).

Submissions to the consultation at www.gov.ie/biodiversityplan should be lodged before November 9th, 2022.

The consultation is run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), a division of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

It follows a period of engagement with stakeholder groups, including government departments, agencies, businesses, and representatives of the Biodiversity Forum.

The National Biodiversity Conference, held in June of this year, also forms part of the consultation. At the event, a wide audience engaged in discussions on Ireland’s response to biodiversity loss, conservation and protection, according to the Department of Housing.

The draft objectives of the National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) are to:

  • adopt a whole of Government, whole of society approach to biodiversity
  • meet urgent conservation and restoration needs
  • secure nature’s contribution to people
  • embed biodiversity at the heart of climate action
  • enhance the evidence base for action on biodiversity
  • strengthen Ireland’s contribution to international biodiversity

The draft NBAP is described as setting out a vision for an Ireland in 2050 “in which biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored, and sustainably used maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people”.

“The draft plan is informed by an extensive review of national, European, and international policies, strategies, legislation and science,” the Department of Housing states.

“ The NBAP will be Ireland’s main mechanism for engagement with ongoing policy developments at regional and global level including opportunities such as a new Global Biodiversity Framework, on the EU Biodiversity Strategy and Nature Restoration Law,” it states.

The final version of the Plan will be published in early 2023, to allow the recommendations of the ongoing Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss to be considered.

Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan said that the public consultation had been initiated “against a backdrop of unprecedented challenges for nature in Ireland and globally”.

“How we collectively and collaboratively address these challenges will define not just our ability to halt biodiversity loss, but how we as a species will survive and thrive into the future,” he said.

“We have a lot of positives to draw from and inspire us. The Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss and the parallel Children and Young People’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss will help to inform us on the way forward, through new ideas, new ways of doing things and new ways of collaborating towards the conservation and restoration of nature in Ireland,” he said.

“The renewal of the National Parks and Wildlife Service through my action plan will strengthen our collective ability towards ensuring that the next NBAP is an all-of-government and all-of-society response to this great challenge. The recent second National Biodiversity Conference, which included a stirring address by An Taoiseach, inspired all in attendance towards this great collective action,” he said.

Noonan urged the public to have their say, stating that it was “ really important that the next National Biodiversity Action Plan be in itself a living document”.

“Yes, it must be actionable and impactful, but it must also reflect the different voices that will inform its content. I urge members of the public to have their say and engage with this public consultation,” Noonan said.

The draft Fourth National Biodiversity Action Plan can be found at www.gov.ie/biodiversityplan where members of the public can also make their submission to the public consultation.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Fishers, scientists and environmental activists have been urged to participate in the Government’s national biodiversity conference in Dublin in June.

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan said the event at Dublin Castle from June 8th to 9th will see “national and international experts come together” as part of a public consultation on the national biodiversity action plan.

The new plan will be implemented over a period of five years, and the conference theme is “Act Now for Nature”.

Many of Ireland’s protected habitats are in poor condition, and 14% of assessed species are thought to be endangered.

“We need a diversity of voices to come together to discuss challenges, explore solutions and establish ways to collaborate more effectively on implementation,” Noonan said.

“I’d like to encourage everyone – farmers, foresters, fishers, scientists, community groups, local authorities, NGOs, State agencies, businesses, young people and everyone else besides – to get involved,” he said.

The event over two days on June 8th and 9th, in line with the latest Covid-19 guidelines, will also be streamed live online.

A number of satellite events will be held to highlight the importance of biodiversity in the days and weeks leading up to the event.

The draft goal of the next National Biodiversity Action Plan is that biodiversity is “effectively conserved and restored and the causes and key drivers of the biodiversity crisis are recognised and addressed”.

Tickets for the 2022 conference will be available at www.biodiversityconference.ie

Published in Marine Science
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There’s still time to make submissions in the public consultation on two Pathway Action Plans for the control of invasive species on Ireland’s waterways.

According to the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s Invasives.ie programme, the purpose of Pathway Action Plans (PAPs) is to raise public awareness as well as to set out actions to prevent unintentional introductions by minimising the contamination of goods, commodities, vehicles and equipment by invasive species, and ensuring appropriate checks at EU borders.

Currently two PAPs related to Ireland’s coastal areas and waterways are under development, one for angling and the other for recreational boating and watercraft.

Both plans aim to survey stakeholders on awareness of biosecurity measures, and engage on what actions can be employed to enhance protections against the spread of invasive species here.

In particular, the PAP for angling emphasises the promotion of ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ principles to control the cross-contamination of water sources.

And the PAP for recreational boating calls for boatyards and marinas to invest in the appropriate facilities to contain the runoff from wash-down procedures, especially when removing anti-foul.

Both draft plans can be downloaded from the Invasives.ie website. Comments on the PAPs must be submitted before Tuesday 1 February through the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s dedicated consultation email address at [email protected]

Published in Irish Marinas

Enthusiasts of surfing, sea kayaking and coasteering are being asked to contribute to a project collecting data about Northern Ireland’s marine wildlife.

As the Coleraine Chronicle reports, National Museums NI’s Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR) hopes that the North Coast’s surfing community in particular will join the effort to help full the gaps in marine science experts’ knowledge of NI’s coastal ecosystem.

“We are interested in just about every marine species,” says CEDaR marine biodiversity officer Justin Judge, “from the more charismatic animals like minke whales and dolphins, down to seaweed and inter-tidal invertebrates”

The Coleraine Chronicle has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has welcomed the allocation of €185,000 for a project around Lough Sheelin by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) Farm and Community Biodiversity Initiative.

The State agency responsible for the protection, management, development and improvement of Ireland’s inland fisheries applied for funding to enhance biodiversity on seven rivers in the Lough Sheelin catchment area in counties Cavan and Meath.

Working in partnership with farmers and landowners along the rivers, IFI will begin works later this year that will help protect river banks from erosion by livestock, reduce water pollution and enhance biodiversity by pruning vegetation and trees in selected areas to allow more natural light to enter the river channel.

Suzanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development, explains: “When cattle enter a river to drink, they can damage the banks of the river, causing materials, such as sediment to enter the river. This can reduce the overall water quality in the river which will negatively impact the fish and their habitats.

“Thanks to funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, we can provide alternative sources of drinking water for livestock through ‘cattle drinkers,’ and we can install fencing which is set back from the river’s edge. This will mean that erosion and water quality issues in the Lough Sheelin Catchment area can be prevented and biodiversity can be enhanced.”

IFI is planning to install over 50 cattle drinkers and 5km of livestock fencing along the seven rivers at Finaway, Maghera, Drumone, Halfcarton, Pound, Mountnugent and Kildorrough.

The agency anticipates that these works will lead to the growth of vegetation on river banks, which would become a natural habitat for wildlife and could act as a buffer to prevent polluted water from the land entering the rivers.

In the longer term, IFI plans to carry out significant river habitat enhancement works as part of a five-year development plan, working closely with the Lough Sheelin Trout Preservation Association (LSTPA).

The Farm and Community Biodiversity Initiative works will be completed within the next 12 months. Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, recently announced that IFI was successful in its application for €184,698 as part of an open call.

The ‘Riparian zone enhancement – Lough Sheelin Catchment project’ is an EIP being administered by Inland Fisheries Ireland. The project is funded by the EU Recovery Instrument Funding under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2022.

Published in Angling

Offshore renewables must not be pursued at the cost of Ireland’s biodiversity, an Oireachtas committee has been told.

According to The Irish Times, members of the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change heard statements from various environmental and conservation groups who explained how Ireland’s waters and coastal areas are under threat from the effects of climate change as well as pollution and invasive species.

Ellen MacMahon of the Sustainable Water Network noted the important role of wind energy in decarbonising the Irish economy.

But she added that “marine protected areas are often overlooked in the role they can play in addressing the twin climate and biodiversity emergencies”.

Her comments were echoed by Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, who said offshore wind farms “cannot be considered in isolation” from their immediate environments and urged that such green energy projects are “not at further cost to Ireland’s already depleted marine habitats and species”.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Environment

A coalition of environmental groups says there are “key marine policy gaps” in the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy 2030.

“Tangible and binding” actions must be taken to ensure the proposed biodiversity strategy ensures “the long-term health” of oceans, the group of environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) state. 

The group has recommended ten “actions” which it has forwarded to EU “decision-makers”, as in the European Commission, EU member state ministers and members of the European Parliament. 

The joint paper entitled Back to the Source - Saving Europe’s Biodiversity Starts in the Ocean, has been published by groups including BirdLife Europe, BLOOM, ClientEarth, Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and the Greenpeace European Unit. 

Groups also involved include the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Mediterranean Association to Save Sea Turtles IFAW, Oceana in Europe, Our Fish, Sciaena, Seas At Risk, The Nature Conservancy, and WDC - Whale and Dolphin Conservation, 

The paper calls for existing enabling legislation to be implemented, noting the EU Birds and Habitats Directives require that marine protected areas (MPAs) be created and managed.

Under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, EU member states have a duty to ensure their seas are in “good environmental status” by 2020, it points out, while the Common Fisheries Policy is meant to follow an “ecosystem-based approach”,

The Deep-Sea Fisheries Regulation provides extra protection for vulnerable deep-sea marine ecosystems, while the Aarhus Convention provides for EU citizens to participate in environmental decisions that affect them.

Enforcement action to ensure these pieces of legislation are implemented in all member states “needs to be dramatically ramped up”, it says.

The paper also recommends developing an EU action plan to protect marine ecosystems and fisheries resources by including “precautionary buffers for climate change when setting fishing limits” 

It calls for a “clear and transparent set of environmental and social criteria for allocation of fishing quotas”, along with a “drastic improvement in the control of fishing activities, including a transition to mandatory remote electronic monitoring systems (REM) for all fleets”.

It calls for a focus on “robust long-term monitoring of sensitive species” and “application of measures to prevent and mitigate bycatch of sensitive species”.

It also calls for an end to what it describes as “destructive” practises including bottom trawling in all EU MPAs.

The group recommends ending other destructive practices such as hydrocarbon exploration in MPAs, and ensuring “at least 30% of EU oceans fully or highly protected, as recommended by science in the next decade;

It also recommends making a plan to restore EU marine biodiversity, by setting a restoration target of at least 15% of EU seas, and focusing on “those ecosystems with the most potential to capture and store carbon”

It calls for an end to “harmful subsidies” in the fishing sector, and says it has estimated that in 2018, the EU “handed out over two billion dollars in capacity-enhancing subsidies”.

Many of these subsidies go to “suppliers and vessel owners” while the income of fishing crews does not increase, it points out.

It says there should be a “coherence between EU commitments and its subsidies policies for the fishing sector”, such as the new European and Maritime Fisheries Fund and revised State Aid Guidelines 

It also calls for more “urgent and stringent measures” on noise pollution, stating that sudden noise sources include explosions, seismic airguns, pile driving and military exercises using sonar have a negative impact on marine life.

Sustainable fisheries partnership agreements for EU vessels fishing in distant waters should also be reviewed, it says so they “do not contribute to overfishing” and “do not negatively impact the economic activities of local coastal communities and artisanal fleets” 

It calls for work to “achieve a moratorium on deep-sea mining, including at the International Seabed Authority”, and the cessation of funding for the development of deep-sea mining technology.

The publication is available here

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

The Irish Wildlife Trust has welcomed this week’s Budget announcements of new funding to address biodiversity issues.

These include a move to more than double the allocation to the previously “defunded and neglected” National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) from €13 million to €29 million.

“It is vital that this extra money is spent on actual conservation measures and not diverted to tourism infrastructure in national parks and nature reserves, which we have seen before,” the trust said.

According to the trust’s campaigns officer Pádraic Fogarty, there has been “a focus on biodiversity in this year’s Budget which we have never seen before”.

He added: “This can only help in bringing an end to the relentless downwards trajectory which we have witnessed in biodiversity in Ireland.

“We expect this will be the start of a longer-term recovery that includes the vital review of the NPWS, a new forestry programme, the ending of overfishing and the creation of marine protected areas as well as an agri-food strategy that is fit to deal with the climate and biodiversity crises.

“All of these have been promised by the new Government and are all essential in delivering the system-wide changes needed.”

Published in Budget
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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

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