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Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels and waterways users on the Royal Canal in Co Kildare that a kayaking event will take place over a distance of 2.5km either side of Pike Bridge between Maynooth and Leixlip on Saturday 11 February.

It’s expected that some 30 kayaks will be involved. Masters of vessels are requested to proceed with additional caution in the vicinity of the event.

Published in Inland Waterways

The inland waterways will be celebrated at Killaloe next month, the quintessential waterways town on the River Shannon in Co.Clare.

Called ‘LUA’, it will be “a celebration of wild water at the ancient settlement of Killaloe, which is a gift of the Shannon, ” says Rev.Paul Fitzpatrick, Dean’s Vicar at St.Flannan’s Cathedral in Killaloe, who has designed the event “to explore our evolving engagement with wild water and how best to individually and collectively irrigate a more beneficial relationship with it, both culturally and environmentally.”

Rev Paul Fitzpatrick and members of his Killaloe congregationRev Paul Fitzpatrick and members of his Killaloe congregation

It will take place from Friday, September 16, through Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18, with an exhibition on the theme of waterways and the environment and a presentation by the Director of the AK ILEN project, Gary McMahon, about the restoration of Ireland’s last sailing schooner.

"Called ‘LUA’, it will be “a celebration of wild water at the ancient settlement of Killaloe"

Killaloe is “incredible with maritime history, rooted in the ancient and contemporary, revolving around the life and times of what is the treasure of the maritime and the inland waterways,” says Rev. Fitzpatrick, an enthusiastic boater on the Shannon himself.

Listen to him on the Podcast here

Published in Tom MacSweeney

An official key-handover ceremony took place this week in Coosan between the RNLI and the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI). The RNLI built the new permanent Lough Ree Lifeboat station and the new Dunrovin IWAI HQ on an IWAI site at Coosan. A portion of the site has been leased by the IWAI for the sole purpose of locating the new permanent lifeboat station on the shores of Lough Ree.

Present at the key handover ceremony was the IWAI President Alan Kelly and Vice-President Kay Baxter to accept the keys on behalf of the association and its members. Also present were the members of the IWAI Dunrovin Development Committee who have worked on this project for the past seven years. Representing the RNLI was Chris Scully RNLI Regional Estates Manager and project lead and RNLI Lifesaving Lead Owen Medland

Dunrovin Development Committee Chair Martin Donnelly in his opening remarks at the ceremony said “Any project of this magnitude is a challenging undertaking but delivering a lifeboat station and a clubhouse, for two charities during a pandemic is a testament to the resilience, determination, and commitment the IWAI and RNLI have to waterways users.

RNLI Regional Estates Manager Chris Scully, IWAI President Alan Kelly (IWAI Kildare), IWAI Vice-President Kay Baxter (IWAI Boyle)RNLI Regional Estates Manager Chris Scully, IWAI President Alan Kelly (IWAI Kildare), IWAI Vice-President Kay Baxter (IWAI Boyle)

Mr. Donnelly added “For the past seven years the IWAI Dunrovin Development Committee has worked voluntarily, despite the challenges, to ensure this joint build was delivered. Without the enormous efforts of the committee and our membership support, this project would never have gotten over the line. We have worked hand in hand with the RNLI team initially from RNLI HQ Poole Dorset and more recently from the Swords RNLI HQ. This work ensures this part of the River Shannon and Lough Ree has a permanent lifeboat station fit for purpose, manned by local volunteers and providing essential rescue services.”

Mr. Donnelly went on to highlight the significance of the project for the wider area “What has been delivered here for both organisations is a vote of confidence in our water-based activities and in the future. With the increasing focus on outdoor activity and the growing love of our environment and waterways, there will be a rise in participation in water sports and an increase in visitor numbers looking to participate in water-based activities. With the new lifeboat station at Coosan, they can feel safe knowing the RNLI is at hand should the need arise. The IWAI as a charity has a strong ethos of delivering for the greater good so this key handover ceremony is a significant occasion for the IWAI Dunrovin Development Committee who delivered handsomely the largest project ever undertaken by the IWAI for the benefit of the whole organisation.”

In handing over the key RNLI Regional Estates Manager Chris Scully said “On behalf of the RNLI and everyone connected with the planning and construction of this permanent Lough Ree Lifeboat Station at Dunrovin, I'd like to thank the IWAI for providing the site for our operations and working so closely with us over the past number of years to bring this build to fruition. The last few years have been particularly challenging for us all and the IWAI support to the RNLI has been welcome and warm. We are proud that following 10 years in a temporary facility, we have delivered a permanent Lifeboat station on Lough Ree, which is purpose-built for our volunteer crews. It is a fitting home, with all the necessary facilities to maintain a professional rescue service for the local community and wider waterways users.”

He continued 'We have a long and proud history of working with the inland waterways and for many years they have generously contributed annually to our fundraising efforts which we hope will continue into the future. The RNLI is independent and depends on voluntary fundraising and donations to maintain its rescue service. This is a special partnership that will continue into the future. In handing over the key, he concluded “Congratulations, it’s time to collect the keys”

In accepting the keys to Dunrovin Alan Kelly IWAI President said “This is a momentous occasion for the IWAI. Dunrovin as a site has been in our ownership for many years. The site was generously bequeathed by Harry and Cynthis Rice whose love of the waterways and place in history as founding members of this organisation is legendary.

The IWAI President continued “While I may have marked the sod-turning virtually, I am honoured to be here physically on the site of our new IWAI HQ for this key handing over ceremony. This is a historical occasion us as we have finally fulfilled our ambition to have a home for the IWAI on the site where the all-Ireland organisation was first conceived. Dunrovin is our spiritual home, and it is fitting that we share this site with the RNLI.”

In referring to the RNLI Mr. Kelly said “Our relationship with the RNLI is a long and close one and I know all water lovers all over Ireland owe a debt of gratitude to them. This strategic partnership has been ably steered by Martin Donnelly and the IWAI Dunrovin Development Committee and I look forward to a long and happy future working together as neighbours as we use this facility for all our activities.

On funding for the build, Mr Kelly acknowledged “Dunrovin would not have been delivered without the unstinting support and financial donations from our IWAI members and branches. We are an all-Ireland organisation and people up and down the country put their hands in their pockets and generously contributed to the build. None of us were in a position to run fundraising events over the past two years and had to rely on our own people to support the project. The appeal was responded to individually and collectively with overwhelming generosity, a testament to the character and strength of this great all Ireland organisation.

We also give thanks to our corporate sponsors who during challenging times supported us and we will certainly acknowledge this support. I can guarantee our members will practically support the sponsorship by doing business with those sponsors. I also acknowledge the generous support of the general public, Westmeath Local Community Development, and Waterways Ireland.”

IWAI Vice President, Kay Baxter said “I know from talking to people there is a real appetite among the members and branches to get out on the water and run events and activities at our new Dunrovin IWAI HQ and I am proud to say that in 2022, after many years they will finally be able to do so. Prior to the strategic partnership with RNLI and the joint development, the site in Coosan was ably looked after by the Dunrovin trustees Michal Martin, Damien Delany, and the IWAI Athlone branch. We owe a debt of gratitude to both for their tireless work over many years, in the background”

Ms. Baxter finished by saying “I can promise you that we will plan a launch event for Dunrovin where we will celebrate the opening of the facility and cut the ribbon and personally thank all those who have supported this project along its journey.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Have you ever wondered how Ireland’s rivers got their names, how the canal network came into being, or what a lockkeeper does? These are just some facets of Ireland’s navigable waterways explored in a new podcast series from Waterways Ireland called “Waterways Through Time”. Presented by historian Turtle Bunbury, the eight-part series takes the listener through the history and archaeology of Ireland’s waterways, including the canal network; how rivers and lakes were named; the archaeological legacy of the Mesolithic; Neolithic and Bronze Age periods; the geological origins of the rivers and lakes and the land through which the canals were cut. Ireland’s early Christian settlements along the inland waterways are also explored. The series also features interviews with lockkeepers on the Barrow navigation, the Shannon, and the Grand Canal.

This is the first podcast series commissioned by Waterways Ireland. It complements other resources in the organisation’s digital archive. Commenting, Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland, John McDonagh said: “Ireland has a rich inland water heritage. Through this series, we are placing this heritage centre stage to perpetuate these unique and inspiring insights. Waterways Ireland has a wonderful digital archive featuring thousands of drawings, sketches, and records of the Irish inland waterways, dating from the 18th century to the present day. The podcast series complements our oral history programme and the ‘Stories from the Waterways’ film series, which are available on the Waterways Ireland website. We encourage people of all ages to listen to these podcasts and to visit our digital archive, which will add to their enjoyment of our waterways.”

Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD added: “I would like to commend Waterways Ireland on another wonderful project that captures Ireland’s unique waterways heritage. This series is an important oral history tool that records the guests’ stories and memories and makes them easily accessible to the public.”

The podcast series was developed and presented by well-known historian Turtle Bunbury. He said: “The series contains a mix of stories, historical events and contemporary interviews with people associated with the waterways. This was a fascinating project on which to work. It was truly a pleasure to research and develop it. Chatting to those connected to the waterways and weaving together the various myths, legends and historical facts to tell the stories of the waterways has been a wonderful experience that gives a new perspective on our inland waterway heritage.”

Launched in 2021, the Waterways Ireland digital archive explores more than 200 years of Irish waterways. It contains a range of collections, from engineering maps and drawings, an oral history collection and donated collections of slides, photographs, videos, and documents. It can be found here.

The podcast series is now available on all podcast outlets from late February 2022.

Episode Details:

1. The Flow of Time
An overview of the podcast series, including an introduction to Waterways Ireland and the various rivers, lakes, canals, and navigations that it is entrusted with managing. This episode also provides a potted history of the creation of the canal network in Ireland, explaining how and why they were conceived and how and why the great project failed.
2. Goddesses of the Water
Irish rivers and loughs are named for a deity from the annals of mythology. Most are goddesses of the Tuatha de Danaan. Some are from the Fir Bolg. Others involve the likes of Finn MacCool and the Children of Lir. In this episode Turtle tracks the origin of these names and provides a colourful retelling of the legends associated with Ireland’s original waterways.
3. Of Glaciers and Crannogs
A look at the geological origins of Ireland’s rivers and lakes, and the land through which the canals were cut, as well as the archaeological legacy of the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age periods which gave rise to burial tombs, log-boats, bog-roads and crannogs in and around waterways, such as the Shannon, the Barrow, the Erne and the Bann.
4. Spiritual Waters, Part 1: Saints and Scholars
This episode tracks the early Christian settlement along the River Barrow, and the birth of monastic schools along the Shannon and the Boyne at Clonmacnoise, Clonfert and Clonard.
5. Spiritual Waters, Part 2: Hermits and Island Monasteries
Homing in on some of the 51 island monasteries on Ireland’s inland waterways, such as Lough Erne, Lough Key and Lough Ree, this episode tells the story of some of the hermits and anchorites who lived in such places.
6. The Barrow Interview: John O’Neill
A brief overview of the Barrow Navigation homing in on John O’Neill and his late aunt Maggie Gorman, lockkeepers, as well as the tales of his father rowing across the river to work, and the gimlet used by the Guinness bargemen to tap the casks.
7. The Shannon Interview: Elizabeth Higgins
One of Ireland’s three lady lockkeepers discusses her unusual experiences on the Shannon, with contextual background on the area of the river which she patrols and manages.
8. The Grand Canal Interview: Alan Lindley
A potted history of the Grand Canal and the Barrow Navigation, told through an interview with Alan Lindley, whose family have been on the locks since the canal was constructed in the 1790s.

Published in Inland
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Nichola Mallon MLA, Minister for Infrastructure today (24th November) met with Waterways Ireland CEO John McDonagh at its Headquarters in Enniskillen.

John Mc Donagh briefed Minister Mallon on a range of key projects including the 10-year Strategy and Waterways Ireland’s draft Climate Action Plan which is currently undergoing public consultation.

Waterways Ireland is the custodian of Ireland’s inland navigable waterways and sees climate change as a critical challenge for the organisation and its stakeholders. As the body responsible for vital shared heritage across Ireland and Northern Ireland, there is an opportunity and a responsibility to take a leadership role in climate action. Waterways Ireland has identified transformative and innovative ways to engage in climate action initiatives over the lifetime of the plan to reduce emissions by at least 51% and improve energy efficiency by at least 50%. It also addresses Waterways Ireland’s aim to be a net-zero organisation by 2050.

"Waterways Ireland’s aim is to be a net-zero organisation by 2050"

Under the draft plan, Waterways Ireland commits to considering climate action in decisions around the acquisition, operation, maintenance and disposal of its assets, as well as the procurement of energy, consumables and third-party services. These activities will be supported by targeted actions and initiatives in priority areas to implement climate mitigation and adaptation measures. Progress in achieving key results will be measured quarterly, ensuring that activities are agile and can keep pace with carbon budgets and other measures developed for the sector.

John Mc Donagh Waterways Ireland CEO said “I welcome Minister Mallon to Waterways Ireland, to share our vision & plans for the future We are custodians of the incredible natural and built heritage with which we have been entrusted. Over the next 10 years, we have an ambitious plan to reimagine and develop a sustainable waterway network which contributes significantly to the recreation, social, economic and environmental life in our communities.”

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises the following reopening of facilities will occur on Thursday 03 December 2020.

Navigational Use

  • Shannon Navigation - Locks and Bridges will be open on Winter Hours. Times are available on the Waterways Ireland website. There continues to be no charge for Lock passage.
  • Shannon Navigation - Vessels can avail of the Winter Moorings facility by applying online.
  • Shannon Erne Waterway - Locks will be open, operating Hours - 09:00hrs to 16:00hrs daily.
  • Shannon Navigation & Shannon- Erne Waterway - Waterways Ireland service blocks will re-open (only those that operate all year round)
  • Grand Canal / Royal Canal / Barrow Line & Navigation – Normal winter arrangements will apply.

General Navigation Guidelines

Navigation remains open within your home county until 18 December. From 18th Dec to 6th Jan 2021 the navigation is open outside of your home county.

When on jetties please be aware of other users. Wait or move aside to allow others to pass at a safe distance.

Observe social distancing protocols - keep a distance of at least 2m (6 feet) away from other people;

Be mindful of others and act always with consideration and with respect and observe the leave no trace principles and protect our environment;

Observe all health etiquettes when on the towpaths.

In all instances, social distancing must be maintained keeping your distance from both other people and moored boats. Please refer to your relevant representative body for guidance on the most appropriate health and safety precautions and advice.

Published in Inland Waterways

The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland has cancelled its Council Meeting scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 7th.

IWAI President Alan Kelly has advised that due to the increased risk posed by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and that cases of Coronavirus have now been
confirmed North, South, East and West it has been decided to cancel the IWAI Council meeting scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 7th.

The IWAI says it is keeping the situation 'under review' and a decision made about the AGM (scheduled for April 25) at a later date.

Tagged under

A historic railway bridge in south west Wexford, reports New Ross Standard, has raised concern in that the structure which has been out of use for a decade is being left to rot and could eventually fall into the river.

Former Labour county councillor Denis North, who worked for CIE for 45 years, including 13 years operating the bridge, said the central span may fall into the River Barrow in years to come if it isn't maintained and returned to use.

Irish Rail CEO Jim Meade informed Mr North in May that there is no proposal to close the Barrow Bridge.

'The Barrow Bridge operating equipment is very old and requires significant resources to maintain and operate,' Mr Meade wrote.

He said: 'While the railway line is suspended, the focus of operation has been to support the Port of New Ross shipping operations in line with our statutory responsibility for the bridge operation.'

He said: 'In order to ensure the consistent delivery of the required shipping lane access for the Port of New Ross, we have reviewed the operation with the Port of New Ross Chief Executive and our Chief Civil engineer and propose to temporarily secure the bridge in the open position for shipping traffic, to improve the navigation controls and lighting on the bridge to a required standard and to allow the remote monitoring of bridge operations. The effect of this proposed change will ensure the reliability of the operation for maritime navigation and reduce our operations and infrastructure costs in the meantime.'

For more on the story click this link. 

Published in Irish Ports

A new clean-up initiative which involves volunteers kayaking down the river Liffey to pick up rubbish has been launched.

GreenKayak, a Danish non-governmental organisation founded in 2017 by Tobias Weber-Andersen, reports The Irish Times, operates a free service where volunteers sign up to kayak along the river in exchange for picking up litter.

The initiative launched its first Irish venture, in partnership with Dublin’s City Kayaking, on Tuesday. It aims to collect plastic from the river Liffey before it reaches the Irish Sea.

Each kayak is fitted with a bin and tools for grabbing plastic bobbing on the water’s surface. Each bin is weighed after docking, and the waste is recycled.

Volunteers must then share their experience on social media to promote the initiative, see related link.

Click here to read more on the background of this initiative

Published in Kayaking

#irishports - New Ross Port is to be transferred to Wexford County Council within the coming months and will lead to great opportunities for the development of the quays area of the town.

As NewRoss Standard writes, this is the view of director of services for economic development with Wexford County Council, Tony Larkin who addressed the monthly meeting of New Ross Municipal District.

Mr Larkin said the 'bottom tier' ports in Ireland are being transferred to local authorities.

'It's New Ross' turn. We have been in negotiations with the Department of Transport for two years. We've been doing due diligence on the port company and I compliment the work of the port company.'

He said the company is being disbanded and will merge into the council.

Mr Larkin said the transfer could occur as soon as May or June, and would have already taken place if not for some cost issues involving the removal of the oil tanks on the quay and the cost of draining the Barrow.

For the transfer to take place three ministers have to sign the transfer letter.

For further reading on this development at the inland port click here.

Published in Irish Ports
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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