Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Dublin Bay Boating News and Information

Public Urged to “Always Think Water Safety” in Dublin Bay

12th July 2021
Dublin Port’s new Shipping Lanes Map
Dublin Port’s new Shipping Lanes Map

Dublin Port Company (DPC) has today launched a new water safety awareness campaign supported by Water Safety Ireland (WSI) to help promote the safe, responsible use of Dublin Bay for leisure and recreation this summer.

Both Dublin Port Company and Water Safety Ireland have observed an increase in the number of people enjoying water-based sports and activities in the surroundings of Dublin Bay and Dublin Port, many for the first time. Unfortunately, some have also found themselves in potentially dangerous situations on the water requiring the guidance of Dublin Port crews to keep them clear of the shipping lanes.

Dublin Port’s campaign is aimed at the growing number of leisure boat users on the water and also those venturing out for kayaking, paddle boarding, jet-skiing and sea-swimming with the arrival of warmer temperatures and continued easing of lockdown restrictions. 

Dublin Port’s new Water Safety Flyer(Above and below) Dublin Port’s new Water Safety Flyer

Supported by new radio, digital and social media advertising, the campaign’s message encourages anyone planning a trip on the water to “get their bearings – always think water safety”. The message is also reinforced outdoors on a billboard at the entrance to Dublin Port.

Dublin Port’s new Water Safety Flyer

Members of the city’s established boat and water sports clubs will already be very familiar with the dos and don’ts of crossing Dublin Bay, navigating the shipping lanes at Dublin Port or enjoying the River Liffey. However, DPC also recognises that many others taking to the water may not be aware of basic safety regulations and practices intended to keep everyone safe.

Dublin Port Harbour Master Captain Michael McKenna explains, “We have seen how quickly someone can get into a potentially dangerous situation on the water, such as being unaware that they have entered the shipping channel, passing too close to ships, not calling “VTS Dublin” on VHF Channel 12 for permission to cross, or not having a working VHF radio on board. It can be a very frightening and dangerous experience if you are not familiar with the water. We want to get the message out about the basic precautions that can help make every trip much safer.” 

As part of the campaign, DPC has created a starter’s guide to basic safety etiquette on the water, including a new map showing a simplified version of the shipping lanes at Dublin Port where permission to cross is mandatory for all leisure craft users. This information, and more, is available at www.dublinport.ie/water-safety

Dublin Port Harbour Master, Captain Michael McKenna, said; “Dublin Bay and the River Liffey are for everyone to enjoy. We want people to have fun on the water, but our number one priority is safety. We are encouraging people to always think water safety. More than 17,000 ship movements in and out of Dublin Port every year equates to almost 50 each day. There is a huge variety in the size and type of ships sharing the water with the city’s boat and yacht communities, sailing groups and sports clubs. Everyone, but especially those who are new or inexperienced, can take some simple safety precautions to help keep themselves, and everyone else on the water, safe.”

John Leech, Chief Executive Officer, Water Safety Ireland, said; “It is everyone’s responsibility to take a proactive approach to personal safety on the water, whether that’s on the waters of Dublin Bay and Port, or further afield. This summer, as people take advantage of the many beautiful coastal areas on offer, the advice has never been more relevant.

Take the time to inform yourself of the basic safety measures you can take. Having that understanding and awareness creates confidence on the water. We know from experience that you are more likely to protect yourself and others when you are aware of the risks involved, and how to avoid them in the first place.”

Jet Skis and Personal Watercraft (PWC)

Jet ski and PWC users are reminded to adhere to the 6 knots speed limit when within 60 m of a pier, jetty, slipway, mooring, shore or another vessel and 120 m of a swimmer or dive flag. Freestyling is not permitted within 200m of swimmers, or the shoreline.

Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

© Afloat 2020