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The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland is a voluntary body formed in 1954 of inland waterways enthusiasts. For all the latest Inland Waterways news click here. We advocate the use, maintenance, protection, restoration and improvement of the inland waterways of Ireland. The association was founded in 1954 to campaign for the conservation and development of the waterways and in particular their preservation as working navigations. When the Shannon was almost totally undeveloped for pleasure boating, IWAI fought the building of low bridges, thus ensuring the development of the river as an asset for all to use and enjoy. In the 1960s IWAI successfully fought plans to close the Circular Line of the Grand Canal in Dublin. Later the association campaigned for the re-opening of the Ballinamore & Ballyconnell Canal (now the Shannon-Erne Waterway) and the Naas line of the Grand Canal.
IWAI is the voice of waterways users and enthusiasts. It represents the views of members to governments (Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), to Waterways Ireland and other navigation authorities, to local authorities and the range of statutory and state-sponsored bodies whose activities impinge on the waterways in one way or another.
Membership and Organisation
IWAI has approximately 4,400 members mainly organised in branches associated with the major navigations across the island.
Our membership is drawn from all walks of life and from people with a wide range of interests-boating, angling, walking, heritage, environment. Many of our members own and use boats on our rivers, lakes and canals ranging from motor cruisers to jet-skis, from barges to sailing dinghies and RIBs to rowing boats.
The association is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity (CHY no 10915). It is governed by a council made up of representatives of each of the local branches and directly elected officers and members. Day to day affairs are managed by an executive committee.
Who’s Who in IWAI? You’ll find the list of current officers of IWAI here
IWAI is not responsible for the navigation, for registering boats, for harbours or similar facilities. The authority that is responsible for the Shannon, Suck, Erne, Barrow, Lower Bann, Grand Canal, Royal Canal and Shannon-Erne Waterway is ‘Waterways Ireland’
A complete chronology/history of the organisation and its activities can be seen here
A number of Committees are active within IWAI including the Heritage & Conservation Committee, Boating & Leisure Committee, etc.
Publications: The IWAI publishes ‘Inland Waterways News’, a quarterly magazine, sent out free to all members. The magazine covers a wide range of topics of interest to waterways enthusiasts at local, national and international level. IWAI also publishes a number of waterways related books and guides. Our web-site is one of the largest single reference sources for waterways related material in Ireland and a major source of referrals for waterways related businesses which brings local events, activities and developments into national perspective. Some of the branches bring out local newsletters. Our web site at www.iwai.ie is packed with waterways-related information. Whether a boat enthusiast, historian, archaeologist, or fisherman, you will find something here of interest.
Branches: IWAI has twenty branches: five in Northern Ireland and fourteen in the Republic and one activity-based branch. Every member is affiliated to a local branch and each branch is represented on a national Council. The branches are:
North: Lough Erne, River Bann and Lough Neagh, Coalisland, Lagan and Newry
South: Athlone, Barrow, Belturbet, Boyle River, Boyne Navigation, Carrick-on-Shannon, Corrib, Dublin, Kildare, Lough Derg, North Barrow, Offaly, Shannon Harbour, and Slaney.
Improvements and Restoration: Work parties and funds are raised to improve navigations and to restore derelict ones. Current projects include the Ulster Canal, Lagan Navigation, Coalisland Canal, Boyne Navigation and the Kilbeggan and Corbally lines of the Grand Canal. A synopsis of current activities is found here. The photo at right shows a work-party working on the Boyne navigation.
Boat rallies: IWAI organises rallies and other events including annual rallies on the Barrow (Easter), Dublin (May), the Erne (May), the Grand Canal (June), Shannon Harbour (June), the Corrib (July), the Shannon (July), Lough Derg (July). Competitions help to raise standards of boatmanship, seaworthiness and safety afloat.
Social events: Land-based events such as film shows, discussions and lectures are organised on a range of waterways topics including, safety, vessel maintenance, navigation, first-aid and waterways heritage
Member Services: The IWAI Shop IWAI provides a number of branded products and services for members. The association burgee and ensign are shown at right. We also sell waterways-related books and navigation charts.
Email Discussion Forum: We host a very active discussion forum. Here, you will meet folk who enjoy talking about life on our waterways. Generally, people are very free with advice on the list (whether wanted or not) and can point you in the right direction if you have problems finding a 3/4 inch flux capacitor for your 1984 vintage submarine. The forum operates a parallel web-based and email service.
Navigation and related announcements: If you would like to keep up to speed with announcements, news, and press releases from the IWAI, you can subscribe to the association’s News Updates List.
Goals of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland
IWAI is set up as a limited company – from our memorandum of association, it has the following objectives:
(a) To promote the use, maintenance and development of the inland waterways of Ireland, and in particular, to advocate and promote the restoration to good order, and maintenance in good order of every navigable waterway and the fullest use of every navigable waterway by both commercial and pleasure traffic, provided such is not injurious to the environmental health of the waterways and surrounding areas.
(b) To support any proposal which may be calculated to maintain or improve Irish waterways and also to improve navigation, lay moorings and carry out other works of improvement on and adjacent to the waterways.
In furtherance exclusively of the above main objects the Company shall have the following ancillary objects:
(a) To oppose by appropriate action the abandonment or neglect of Irish canals or river navigations, the pollution of waterways, the obstructions of navigations by fixed bridges, aqueducts, overhead cables, or otherwise, the obstruction of towing paths, or any other action calculated to injure or destroy the navigation or amenities of the waterways of Ireland.
(b) To prepare, either alone or in collaboration with any other body, guide books, charts, maps and other literature suitable for use by persons using the Irish navigations for any purpose, and to foster public interest in and knowledge of the Irish waterways by disseminating information on the subject to members and to the general public.
(c) To organise visits to objects and places of interest on the waterways including water-borne journeys.
(d) To do all such acts as shall further the active and corporate life of the Association and to cooperate with any other body having similar or sympathetic aims.
(e) To represent the interests of boat owners in all matters pertaining to the above objects.
(f) To organise, engage in, and sponsor boat rallies, exhibitions, displays, festivals, carnivals, sports, hobbies and entertainments.
Details of IWAI Policies can be found here.
Inland Waterways Association (IWA), 110 Booterstown Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin. Tel: 1890 924991, Email: [email protected]
Afloat posts on the IWA:
There are a number of different organisations established in Ireland to manage the marine leisure sector and these stakeholders are an important part in the future growth of the sector that is arguably worth 700 million euro per annum to the Exchequer.
The main organisations – including some in the UK – are:
Cruising Association of Ireland – The Cruising Association of Ireland was set up with the aim of working with the Irish Sailing Association and the Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland for the promotion and encouragement of cruising and of social union among its members.
Inland Waterways Association – A voluntary body formed in 1954 of inland waterways enthusiasts, the IWA advocates the use, maintenance, protection, restoration and improvement of the inland waterways of Ireland.
Irish Amateur Rowing Union/Rowing Ireland – The IARU/Rowing Ireland is the governing body for rowing in Ireland and represents over 100 clubs across Ireland. Rowing is one of Ireland's most successful sports, having won multiple World Championships over the last decade.
Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) (Garda Cósta na hÉireann) – The Irish Coast Guard is part of the Department of Transport. The Irish Search and Rescue Region, which includes most of the Republic of Ireland and parts of Northern Ireland, is the area over which the coast guard has authority. This area is bounded by the UK Search and Rescue Region.
Irish Disabled Sailing Association/Sailforce – Sailforce is a new campaign established by the Irish Disabled Sailing Association (IDSA) to highlight the achievements and activities of their current membership and to introduce members of the general public to the concept of sailing as a viable sport for the disabled.
Irish Marina Operators Association – The IMOA is an associate group of the Irish Marine Federation (IMF) focussing exclusively on the needs of marina operators. Membership of IMOA currently represents coastal marinas, but will eventually be open to Ireland's inland waterway marinas.
Irish Rowing Union – The IARU is the governing body for rowing in Ireland and represents over 100 Clubs across Ireland. Rowing is one of Ireland’s most successful sports, having won multiple World Championships over the last decade.
Irish Ships & Shipping – Irish Shipping Ltd. was set up in 1941 to ensure Ireland could import and export essential goods during World War II. Britain had decided that it could no longer put its ships and men at risk by supplying a country had had decided to remain neutral. So after a meeting held at Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin, on the 21st of March 1941, a National Shipping Company was formed called 'Irish Shipping Ltd.' .
Irish Underwater Council – The Irish Underwater Council is the national governing body for recreational underwater sports in Ireland. It was founded in 1963 to organise and promote sport scuba diving and snorkeling. At that time there were only six clubs but the sport has expanded over the years and today encompasses 84 clubs distributed all over Ireland.
Irish Water Safety – Irish Water Safety is the statutory body established to promote water safety in Ireland. Their role is to educate people in water safety best practices and develop public awareness campaigns to promote necessary attitudes, rescue skills and behaviour to prevent drownings and water-related accidents.
Marine Casualty Investigation Board – The function of the MCIB is to carry out investigations into marine casualties that take place in Irish waters or involve Irish registered vessels. The main purpose of the Board's investigations is to establish the cause or causes of a marine casualty with a view to making recommendations to the Minister for Transport for the avoidance of similar marine casualties. It shall not be the purpose of an investigation to attribute blame or fault.
Met Éireann: Irish Meteorological Service – Met Éireann, the Irish National Meteorological Service, is part of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. It is the leading provider of weather information and related services for Ireland.
North West Charter Skippers Association – The North West Charter Skippers Organisation was inaugurated in January 2002, and was formed to enhance and develop Charter Boat Services through the interchange of Information through the promotion of a fleet of fully licensed, insured, and well-equipped Modern Sea Angling Vessels adopting best practice and providing a high quality service in Sea Angling and general tourism charters to the Northwest Coast of Ireland – 'Service with Safety'
Professional Association of Diving Instructors – PADI is the world’s leading scuba diving training organisation. With more than forty years experience and 5,300 dive shops and resorts worldwide, PADI training materials and services let you experience scuba diving from nearly anywhere.
RNLI Ireland – The RNLI is a registered charity that saves lives at sea. It provides a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service 100 nautical miles out from the coast of Ireland and the UK. The RNLI relies on voluntary contributions and legacies for its income.
Royal Yachting Association – The RYA is the national body in the UK for all forms of boating, including dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, ribs and sports boats, powerboat racing, windsurfing, inland cruising and narrowboats, and personal watercraft.
Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland – The RYA is the national body in the UK for all forms of boating, including dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs and sportsboats, powerboat racing, windsurfing, inland cruising and narrowboats, and personal watercraft. The RYANI are their Northern Irish branch.
Union Internationale Motonautique/International Powerboat Racing Club – The UIM is the international governing body of power boating and is recognized as such by the International Olympic Committee. It is also a member of the General Association of International Sports Federations, and the Association of the IOC Recognized International Sports Federations. The sport governs all power boating disciplines including aqua bike, circuit, offshore, pleasure navigation and radio-controlled.
Waterways Ireland – one of the six North/South Implementation Bodies established under the British Irish Agreement in 1999, Waterways Ireland has responsibility for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of inland navigable waterways principally for recreational purposes. The waterways under the remit of the body are the Barrow Navigation, the Erne System, the Grand Canal, the Lower Bann, the Royal, the Shannon-Erne Waterway and the Shannon Navigation.
The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) (Garda Cósta na hÉireann) is part of the Department of Transport.
All the latest Irish Coast Guard news is here.
The Irish Search and Rescue Region, which includes most of the Republic of Ireland and parts of Northern Ireland, is the area over which the coast guard has authority. This area is bounded by the UK Search and Rescue Region.
The Coast Guard is responsible for:
– Search and Rescue
– Marine communications network
– Marine safety awareness
– Mountain and Cave Rescue
Pollution and Salvage response in the marine environment (the Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre [MRCC] in Dublin coordinates all pollution and salvage control in the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ]).
Note that not all Irish Coast Guards have enforcement powers – only some officers under warrant.
The Coast Guard (Garda Cósta) does not form part of the Irish Defence Forces, rather it operates as an agency of the Department of Transport under the Maritime Safety Directorate. The Maritime Safety Directorate comprises two main sections, the Maritime Safety and Marine Environment Division (MSED) and the Marine Survey Office (MSO). The Marine Survey Office also includes the Marine Radio Affairs Unit (MRAU). The Mercantile Marine Office (MMO) also works under the Directorate.
- The Maritime Safety and Marine Environment Division is responsible for maritime safety, security policy and legislation (including leisure safety), aids to navigation and corporate governance of the Commissioners of Irish Lights and marine environment protection issues.
- The Marine Survey Office deals with the inspection, survey, certification and licensing of vessels and vessels radio equipment; the examination and certification of seafarers competencies; enforcement of standards by way of audits on organisation and facilities and prosecutions for breaches of regulations.
While in some jurisdictions they are the responsibility of the Coast Guard, in Ireland, fisheries patrols are carried out by the Navy and drug smuggling patrols by Customs, the Gardaí and the Navy. However, all the above government services can at any time request assistance from each other when needed.
(The above information and image courtesy of Irish Coast Guard)
Irish Coast Guard, MRCC Dublin, Coast Guard Headquarters, Department of Transport, Leeson Lane, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 678 2303, Fax: 01 678 3459