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Displaying items by tag: 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.

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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

The winter mooring period ends on Sunday 31 Mar 2019. Thereafter Navigation Bye-law No. 17(3) applies i.e. vessels should not berth in the same harbour for longer than the statutory period of 5 consecutive days nor more than a total of 7 days in any one month.

Published in Inland Waterways
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The winter mooring period has begun and with it a number of changes to the operation of Waterways Ireland’s moorings.

Winter mooring is available on Waterways Ireland moorings on the River Shannon for the 5 month period 1 November – 31 March for a fee of €63.50. For 2018-2019 bookings visit here

From the 7th November electricity and water to Waterways Ireland jetties, harbours and marinas will be turned off to reduce damage from winter weather including storms and freezing conditions. A Marina Notice will issue when both services are re-connected in 2019.

Over the winter Waterways Ireland advises boat owners to take additional precautions if visiting their vessels during any stormy weather and heavy rainfall. Slippery conditions and strong winds are a hazard when walking on floating pontoons and when moving boats. Certainly boat owners should consider wearing full personal protective equipment if it is deemed necessary to visit a vessel during stormy weather.

Boaters should also note the closure of Albert Lock and Athlone Lock for 6 weeks from the 5th and 12th November respectively for essential maintenance works and passage through the locks will not be possible during this time.

Waterways Ireland will continue to issue Marine Notices throughout the winter period to advise boaters of changes to navigation conditions. Marine Notices are published on the Waterways Ireland website.

Published in Inland Waterways

Afloat.ie reader, Chris, is trying to find out what the rules and limitations are for jet boating on Irish rivers. In particular, he was curious to know if there are any regulations governing speed limits. 

A jetboat is a boat propelled by a jet of water ejected from the back of the craft. Unlike a powerboat or motorboat that uses an external propeller in the water below or behind the boat, a jetboat draws the water from under the boat through an intake and into a pump-jet inside the boat, before expelling it through a nozzle at the stern. 

Jetboats were originally designed by Sir William Hamilton (who developed a waterjet in 1954) for operation in the fast-flowing and shallow rivers of New Zealand, specifically to overcome the problem of propellers striking rocks in such waters.

We passed Chris's query to Waterways Ireland, the body responsibile for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of inland navigable waterways, principally for recreational purposes.

WI responded as follows: 

'Waterways Ireland actively encourages the use of Ireland's waterways for all types of activities including jet-boating. In this context the rivers and lakes under the remit of Waterways Ireland are available for jet-boating with some public safety restrictions to be respected.

There is a 5 knot speed limit in place in the vicinity of all marinas and harbours. We encourage a no wake policy in the vicinity of moorings, jetties and swimming areas. We have received occasional complaints from other boat users regarding excessive speed by jet skis and powerboats in the vicinity of marinas etc, consideration for other water users is encouraged.  

'Lough Derg between Portumna and Terryglass is an area that is used for water-ski training and would be ideal for jet-boating'

The Lower Bann river between Lough Neagh and Coleraine has zones used primarily for powered water sports and could be an ideal jet-boating location.  Lough Derg between Portumna and Terryglass is an area that is used for water-ski training and would be ideal for jet-boating.

There are Waterway Ireland offices in various locations along the lakes and river network who can advise further on local matters when you are on the waterway'.

Published in Inland Waterways
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Could The Heritage Bill destroy the Navigations it should be protecting? That's the view of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI).

In a long running campaign, the IWAI has received strong political support for its view that this proposed legislation must put user requirements, tourism development and local communities at the centre of the regulations. 

The Heritage Bill 2016 is currently before the Dáil. With several Amendments still to be considered by the Oireachtas, The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) is hopeful that the final shape of the Bill has the potential to unlock a bright future for the Grand Canal, Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation that will put user requirements, tourism development and local communities at the centre of the regulations.

Could The Heritage Bill destroy the Navigations it should be protecting?

The Bill is scheduled for debate by the Select Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht this Wednesday afternoon. Once again there is strong political support for the IWAI view but concerns remain with the proposed legislation, this is reflected by the number of Amendments on the table for discussion on Wednesday.

The main areas of concern relate to

• new complicated legal licensing, - rather than the need to legislate for a simple permitting system that is customer friendly, easy to use, and fit for purpose
• Adequate provisions - so that boats of dimensions for which the canals were built to accommodate are protected and can continue to do so into the future
• proposed provision and powers of Authorised Officers
• legislation that will facilitate the introduction of a complete different set of rules and regulations that are not in place on the adjoining Waterways, and will make these canals less attractive to potential boating tourism

Ireland’s Canals as beautiful linear waterways have the potential to attract both domestic and International boating visitors who will relish the tranquil opportunity of slow tourism cruising at walking pace as people move faster than the canal boats on the system, while experiencing the associated industrial heritage, peat lands, small villages and towns that have interdependence with the canals and our capital city.

To achieve this potential it is vital that the Heritage Bill 2016 preserves and enables the development of the canals for the current and future generations and communities. Over regulation and excessive charges are not the answer to developing these waterways; they deserve proper legislation that put user requirements, local communities and tourism at the centre of the regulations.

Published in Inland Waterways
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The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society will bring the Heritage Angel Awards to Northern Ireland for the first time and IWAI Newry and Portadown have been shortlisted to receive a Heritage Angel Award in the category Best Rescue, Recording or Interpretation of a Historic Place. On learning of the group's success Peter Maxwell the Branch treasurer said: "It's a huge honour for us to have won through the nomination process and we are looking forward to the decision. It's a great opportunity for us to spread the word about the canal and what a fantastic asset it is to the community."

IWAI Newry and Portadown volunteers have created a video entitled ‘New Life for the Old Canal’ that celebrates the project to re-water the summit level of the Newry Canal, a four mile stretch of water from Poyntzpass to Scarva. New lock gates were built and installed by the volunteers to allow canoes and small boats to use the canal. Alongside this the group researched and published a guided walk app highlighting the history of the canal. They also manage a heritage centre on the towpath with displays to help visitors understand how a canal works and how its restoration could help boost the local economy.

The purpose of the Heritage Angel Awards is to recognise groups that inspire and increase activity to help conserve and protect built heritage, a purpose that according to Peter, IWAI Newry and Portadown volunteers support very strongly; "We certainly meet that aim as our volunteers contribute more than 2000 hours annually to canal projects. Without our input it's fair to say that the canal, dating from 1742 and the first of its kind in Ireland & the UK would again become a neglected, overgrown ditch as was the case when it was abandoned in 1949. Instead, our project on the summit has shown how the canal can be used by many different types of people for recreation and enjoyment."
Peter’s enthusiasm and that of his fellow volunteers clearly shows the potential impact that a project like this can have on society as a whole. Please show your support and cast your vote now to show that there most definitely is new life for the old canal. Logon to https://www.heritageangelawards-ni.org.uk/ Voting closes on Friday October 27th. The awards ceremony will take place in the Grand Opera House, Belfast on Tuesday November 7th. The Awards are funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and the Department for Communities.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises Masters and Owners of vessels berthed in public harbours, at jetties or moorings against visiting any vessels or boats during periods of extreme weather such as storm force winds and heavy rainfall.

Strong winds are a hazard to personal safety if walking on or near navigation infrastructure and also because of blown debris from trees or buildings in the vicinity. There is also the hazard of the unpredictable nature of rising water levels and their effect on built infrastructure.

Canal banks will be muddy and slippery. Access to vessels could be hazardous.

At present a number of mooring facilities and access ramps to same and the approach roads and paths to their associated car parks are underwater or are inaccessible across all navigations.

Fast flowing currents, eddies and turbulent water will be experienced in and around these structures for some time after the storms have passed.

Mooring lines and cleats on vessels at these facilities will be under strain as will the shore bollards that they are made fast to. Extreme care should be exercised when releasing lines in these circumstances to avoid them snapping back and causing injury. There is also the danger of deck cleats, which may have been weakened whilst under strain, pulling out and striking a person when engaged in this activity.

Waterways Ireland further advises that full personal protective equipment such as lifejacket and foul weather gear be worn if it is deemed necessary to visit a craft in a harbour that the visit is undertaken in company with a colleague and that someone has been advised of an expected return time. A fully charged mobile phone should be carried in the event of an emergency and the visit should be made during daylight hours.

Published in Inland Waterways
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Ireland's Commercial Fishing 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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