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Waterways Ireland has issued Marine Notices related to a number of events taking place on Ireland’s inland waterways this weekend.

On the Royal Canal, a Junior Canoe Polo Competition will take place at Kilcock Harbour from 10am to 6pm tomorrow, Saturday 22 June.

Passage will be possible between 1pm and 2pm. Masters of other craft are requested to proceed at slow speed and with minimum wash and note any directions issued by the stewards.

On the Shannon-Erne Waterway, masters and owners of vessels are advised that they may experience short-term delays between Lock 1 at Corraquill and Ballyconnell Marina between 1pm and 6.30pm tomorrow due to the waterway’s 25th anniversary event.

Masters are requested to proceed at slow speed and heed any instructions issued by the event marshals.

Elsewhere on the River Shannon, the swimming element of a triathlon event will take place in Tarmonbarry on Sunday 23 June between 9.30am and noon.

Tarmonbarry lock will be closed to traffic during this time, and the N5 Shannon lifting bridge will also be closed, requiring large airdraft vessels to berth north of the bridge for the period.

A children’s swimming event will take place at 6pm on Saturday in Tarmonbarry, but this will not affect vessels in the navigation.

Masters are requested to proceed at slow speed and with minimum wash when approaching this section of the river and heed any instructions issued by the event marshals.

Meanwhile, on Upper Lough Erne, masters and owners of vessels are advised that dredging works are due to commence at Kilmore Quay on Monday 1 July and last for approximately nine weeks.

The map below shows the area to be dredged and the route the vessels will be taking in order to bottom-dump the material.

Marine Notice Upper Lough Erne

Masters of vessel are requested to proceed with additional caution in the vicinity of the dredging operations and dredging vessels.

Waterways Ireland thanks its customers for their co-operation in this and all other matters.

Published in Inland Waterways

#RNLI - Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat and rescue water craft launched to assist a 23ft cruiser which had run aground close to the Share Centre on Upper Lough Erne yesterday evening, Sunday 5 August.

Winds were south-westerly Force 2 with good visibility and cloudy skies when the Carrybridge lifeboat crew were requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard at 5.20pm.

Arriving at the casualty vessel, the lifeboat crew found the cruiser aground and all four people on board to be safe and well.

On assessing the vessel, the volunteer crew found its mean of propulsion had also become damaged when it grounded.

After three of the casualty vessel’s crew were taken on board the lifeboat and transferred to the Share Centre, a tow line was set up with the assistance of the rescue water craft and the cruiser was refloated before being towedd back to its mooring at the Share Centre with its remaining crew member.

It was the second callout for Carrybridge RNLI over the weekend. On Saturday evening (4 August), the inshore lifeboat and rescue water craft launched to a 16ft rowing boat which was adrift in the main navigation channel.

The rowing boat had broken free from its moorings and drifted half a mile upstream from Carrybridge. The vessel was taken under tow by the lifeboat back to its own private mooring.

Speaking following these callouts, Carrybridge RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tom Bailey said: “As we continue to enjoy the good weather, we would remind all boat users to respect the water, plan your passage before setting out, and take particular care whilst navigating. Should you get into trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Friday 13 July was an unlucky one for a 26ft sports cruiser with engine trouble close to Naan Island on Upper Lough Erne.

Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards launched at 3.23pm yesterday to the cruiser which had six on board, all found to be safe and well.

After a towline was set up, the lifeboat took the casualty vessel back to Knockninny Jetty and was set to return to station within an hour.

Speaking after the callout, Carrybridge RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tom Bailey said: “As we enjoy this current spell of good weather, we would remind all boat users before going afloat to carry out regular checks of their vessels.

“Also now that the summer holiday season is in full swing, we would ask all users to enjoy themselves but also to respect the water whilst out on the lake.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Just two days before Carrybridge RNLI’s new inshore lifeboat had its naming ceremony, boat and crew launched to assist a cow that had fallen from a steep bank on Upper Lough Erne.

The lifeboat and rescue water craft launched at 3.30pm on Thursday afternoon (7 June) arrived to the cow and its owner, who had been trying to recover the animal from the Arney River without success.

Weather conditions had southerly Force 2 winds, with good visibility and cloudy skies.

After speaking with the farmer, the volunteer crew kept the animal close to the bank and helped to steer the cow towards a part of the bank where it would be able to get out.

After some careful coaxing, the cow was assisted in getting out of the river by the crew and the farmer’s family. The crew were thanked by the owners and the lifeboat and rescue water craft departed the scene at 4.14pm.

Then on returning to station, the RNLI crew were requested to aid a vessel which had broken down nearby. The crew assisted in towing this boat back to its private slipway.

“We are always happy to help the local community in situations where there is risk to both the public and animals,” said Tom Bailey, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI.

“We also advise everyone working close to the edge of water to take the necessary precautions. In this instance we were delighted that the cow was able to be recovered without injury.”

Elsewhere, Enniskillen RNLI launched yesterday afternoon (Saturday 9 June) to assist a 23ft Bayliner that has lost engine power at the entrance into the River Erne which leads to Belleek.

The charity’s inshore lifeboat Joseph and Mary Hiley and rescue water craft arrived at the casualty vessel which had three people onboard, all of whom were safe and well.

The volunteer crew set up a tow to the lifeboat and towed the vessel to Aughinver.

Speaking following the callout, Enniskillen RNLI helm Aidy Kelly said: “It was a very successful recovery with our crew using the benefits of their winter training to recover the vessel and all onboard safely to Aughinver.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Carrybridge RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched yesterday morning (Sunday 6 May) following a request by Belfast Coastguard to assist a 37ft cruiser taking on water on the lough near Belturbet, Co Cavan.

The lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards, with helm Chris Cathcart, David Reid, Kyle Boyd and Colin Beacom on board, launched at 7.28am from Upper Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh and arrived shortly after in Belturbet.

Winds were southerly, Force 1 and visibility was good with sunny skies.

The lifeboat crew located the casualty vessel moored alongside the public jetty, but still taking on water. Belturbet Fire and Rescue Service were also in attendance. The owner and his dog were unharmed.

The RNLI volunteer crew set up their salvage pump, and started to pump the water out of the casualty vessel. Once the water level started to lower, the access point of the water was located and a temporary seal put in place. 

The casualty vessel was then pumped out dry, and the lifeboat towed it to the public slipway where it was beached to avoid it sinking. The lifeboat departed the scene at 9.40am.

Following the callout, Cathcart said: “The crew were glad to be able to assist the owner this morning with his vessel, and hope he continues to have an enjoyable holiday.”

Much earlier on Sunday, the Portrush all-weather lifeboat crew in Co Antrim happened upon a casualty on land after a callout was stood down.

Three volunteer crew — Karl O’Neill, Jason Chambers and Ben Durrant — were returning home after the 1.40am call when they discovered a man who had fallen and had suffered significant injures to the face. 

The crew dialled 999 to request assistance. O’Neill, who is also an RNLI lifeguard supervisor, had his responder bag to hand and was able to administer first aid to stop the bleeding from the casualty’s face. Durrant then took the casualty to the local emergency department for further treatment.

Keith Gilmore Portrush RNLI lifeboat operations manager, commented: “Once again our volunteer crew have shown that the skills and training they have received as lifeboat crew members can be applied to assist in any situation. 

“I am very proud that the men on their way home at 2am stopped to help a member of the public who was obviously injured and in distress. We wish him a full recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Carrybridge RNLI’s new B-Class Atlantic 85  lifeboat Douglas, Euan & Kay Richards launched on its first callout yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 27 December 2017) along with the station’s rescue water craft.

The volunteer lifeboat crew based on Upper Lough Erne were requested to launch at 2.31pm following a report from Belfast  Coastguard of two people in the water near the old boat house at Crom Estate after their Canadian canoes capsized.

Helmed by Thomas Graham with crew members David Reid and Kyle Boyd, the new lifeboat made its way to the scene along with the rescue water craft helmed by Chris Cathcart and crewed by Adrian Quigley.

Weather conditions at the time were overcast with Force 4-5 winds and fair visibility. The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was also in attendance.

As the RNLI volunteers arrived on scene at Crom, a member of the public informed them that the man and woman who came off the canoes had managed to swim ashore with the assistance of two members of the public who had entered the water to assist them. The canoeists were suffering from signs of hypothermia and were being warmed in vehicles.

The RNLI crew secured their vessels and made their way to the casualties as members of the ambulance service arrived on scene. The two casualties were transferred to the ambulance with the assistance of the RNLI crew where they received casualty care treatment.

Speaking following the callout, Carrybridge RNLI helm Thomas Graham said: “The water is very cold at this time of year and the casualties had been in the lough for about five minutes after coming out of their canoes and making their way back to the shore. Thankfully they made it safety ashore and received treatment.

“We would recommend if going afloat in this time of year in any canoe, that lifejackets and drysuits are worn to help protect against the cold waters, and that people also carry a means of communication such as a VHF radio or mobile phone to raise the alert should they get into any difficulties.”

The Douglas, Euan & Kay Richards went on service early last month, replacing Duckhams 2001 which has been used to rescue people on Lough Erne in County Fermanagh since 2015.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Carrybridge RNLI attended three different incidents – one involving a fire – on Upper Lough Erne this past Saturday (11 June).

The inshore lifeboat and rescue wafer craft were initially tasked to a burning vessel at 6.08pm, two miles north of Belturbet. Both Belturbet and the NI Fire and Rescue Service were in attendance.

The four people onboard were safely removed from the boat by a passing vessel and brought to shore. The 25ft Bayliner later burnt itself out and sank into shallow waters close to the shoreline.

The volunteer crew were then tasked by Belfast Coastguard to a boat with engine problems 1.5 miles from Knockninny. The sports cabin cruiser and its four passengers and their dog were brought to safety at Knockninny Marina.

The third tasking saw Carrybridge RNLI going to a vessel that ran out fuel close to the Share Centre. The 22ft vessel and its passenger were brought to safety of the Share Centre Marina.

The lifeboat and rescue craft returned to station at 9.15pm.

Speaking following the callouts, Carrybridge RNLI helm Chris Cathcart said: "The crew of the burning vessel did the right thing by alerting the coastguard straight way when their vessel went on fire.

"They made sure they had their lifejackets on and evacuated their vessel to another passing vessel as soon as possible."

Cathcart also commended the crews of the further two vessels the lifeboat assisted for their quick thinking when they found themselves in danger.

"The importance of alerting the coastguard as soon as possible in all cases help saves lives and prevented the situation from developing into something more serious on all our callouts."

The busy evening for the volunteer crew was in the first weekend of the RNLI’s summer campaign #RespectTheWater that targets accidental drowning along Northern Ireland’s coastline and inland waterways.

Respect the Water urges the public to watch out for the key dangers that can catch people out in or near the water. The campaign which will run throughout the summer months aims to highlight the risk of accidental drowning when people are near the water’s edge while encouraging safer behaviour both in and around the water.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#WaterfrontProperty - Fancy owning your own island in one of Ireland's largest lakes? Staff Island in Upper Lough Erne could be yours for £125,000 (€157,500), as the News Letter reports.

With zoning restrictions preventing the building of anything more than a small cabin on the 10-acre wooded islet at Knockninny Quay in Co Fermanagh, it won't provide for a palatial hideaway.

But the island property could make the perfect "weekend retreat for a well-heeled boat-owner". And it may also be of interest to public bodies such as the RSPB for its potential as a nature reserve.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Waterfront Property

#RNLI - Enniskillen RNLI is to get a new lifeboat station at its Carrybridge base on Upper Lough Erne, it has emerged.

Planning permission for the new build has been passed by Fermanagh District Council and the RNLI’s tendering process is now underway, with a view for building work to commence in late summer.

Once complete, the modern station - much like the new facility for Castletownbere RNLI that opened recently - will replace the existing temporary accommodation which has housed the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew for the past 11 years.

In order to facilitate the project, the local community is being asked to help the RNLI raise £60,000 (€70,000) towards the cost, which will help Enniskillen RNLI continue to save lives on Lough Erne.

In 2001, Enniskillen became home to the RNLI’s first inland lifeboat station based on Lower Lough Erne.

Due to the overall size and complexity of the lough and its high leisure usage, the decision was taken by the RNLI in 2002 to base a second lifeboat on the upper lough that would work in conjunction with the original lifeboat station on the lower lough.

With two bases, two inshore lifeboats and two rescue water craft, the station has since proved to be one of the busiest in Ireland.

Last year alone, Enniskillen RNLI launched 46 times bringing 50 people to safety. Some 20 of those services were carried out in the dark while the crew spent 169 service hours on the water.

RNLI divisional operations manager Gareth Morrison said he was delighted that planning had now been approved making way for what will be a purpose-built station in a location close to the lough allowing for an efficient launch.

"In an area that receives over 100 days of heavy rainfall a year, it is hard to believe the volunteer crew based at the upper lough operate from just a temporary facility, partly exposed to the elements," said Morrison.

"The crew has to change in a small, damp, metal container and only has a portaloo and wash basin for their comfort. There is nowhere for the crew to shower or dry after a challenging rescue and nowhere for them to gather and train together during the week.

"We want to build a modern station with full crew facilities with areas for the crew to change and train and space to keep their lifeboat and rescue water craft and lifesaving kit safe."

Enniskillen RNLI lifeboat operations manager Davey Robinson said a new station was what the crew deserved.

"At the moment we are operating out of a temporary facility. It is cramped and there are no showers so the crew cannot warm up after a cold, wet and tiring rescue. A new station will be great for the crew. We are a busy station so it is what they deserve."

He added: "It is always reassuring for locals and visitors alike that the RNLI is here to assist them or help their loved ones when they get into difficulty. We try to act as a safety net on Lough Erne and are here 24 hours a day. But we need the right facilities to do that and this new station will help."

Donations and other assistance with fundraising are welcome. For details contact Tony Hiney, RNLI community fundraising manager, at 087 219 8917 or email [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#INLAND WATERWAYS - Three months on from Minister Jimmy Deenihan's statement on the Ulster Canal regeneration project, and there is little to update on its progress.

As reported on Afloat.ie last December, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht replied to a written question from Cork East Sinn Féin deputy Sandra McLennan that the project is "progressing'"despite a U-turn on Government funding, and confirmed that Waterways Ireland would solely fund the scheme from its annual allocations.

However, the minister's latest response - to a question from Cavan-Monaghan Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin requesting an update on the project's progress - is almost identical to his previous statement.

One small difference is an acknowledgement that Cavan County Council has granted planning permission for the project, which involves restoration of the canal between Clones in Co Monaghan and Upper Lough Erne.

Minister Deenihan also stated that his department is "finalising terms of reference" for the proposed inter-agency group that would examine ways to further the project, but gave no timeframe as to when this group would be established.

Published in Inland Waterways
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