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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

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

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

The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) Kildare will return again to Naas Harbour to celebrate the Naas Canal Festival which runs from Friday October 27th to Monday October 30th. This year’s Festival is a very special event as 2017 marks 30 years since the Naas Line of the Grand Canal was re-opened to boat traffic. In the early 1980s, a fledgling IWAI Kildare, supported by IWAI Dublin, highlighted the potential for tourism development of the Grand Canal in Naas. 30 years on and a large fleet of boats is expected to attend the Festival in Naas Harbour. On Friday 27th and Saturday 28th the travelling boats will be assisted through the locks by staff from Waterways Ireland, IWAI Kildare volunteers and members of the 23rd Kildare – Sallins – scouts, who are eager to put their lock operation training into practice. If you have never seen a lock being used or you have never seen a boat cruise the canal, this October weekend will not disappoint.

As well as the flotilla of vessels old and new, there will be a number of public events in the lead up to and during the Festival. A Waterways Exhibition will run in Naas Library from Monday October 23rd to Friday 27th featuring material from IWAI, the Heritage Boat Association and Waterways Ireland. There will be a variety of activities taking place on Sunday afternoon, October 29th, from 1pm to 5pm, including music from The Water Gypsies, Waterways Information Talks, an Exhibition by Sean Curran Art, boat trips on the canal by bargetrip.ie, the launch of a new children’s book by author Emma-Jane Leeson who will host readings from her book on a Barge. Of course, the boats themselves will also be on display and the boat owners will be on hand waiting to answer your questions or even give you a tour; don’t be shy about approaching them.

In the spirit of the founders of the IWAI, who established the Association in 1954 to campaign against the installation of fixed-span bridges across the River Shannon, IWAI Kildare will use the Naas Canal Festival to continue to showcase the leisure potential and historical significance of the Grand Canal in this area. 

The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) is a voluntary body representing over two thousand enthusiasts, with 23 branches across the island of Ireland. 

The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) is an energetic, fun, voluntary organisation with members from all corners of the Island of Ireland, all sharing a keen and passionate enthusiasm for the waterways of Ireland.

The IWAI advocates the navigation, use, maintenance, protection, restoration and improvement of the inland waterways of Ireland. It was formed in 1954 to promote the development, use and maintenance of Ireland's navigable rivers and canals.

IWAI Kildare was established in 1984. In the early years IWAI Kildare was assisted by IWAI Dublin to restore and enable the re-opening to navigation of the Naas Line of the Grand Canal main line. Currently, IWAI Kildare aims to promote the use of the waterways of Co. Kildare by running rallies throughout the county.
IWAI Kildare is actively campaigning to re-open the Corbally Line of the Grand Canal from Naas Harbour to Corbally Harbour. This stretch of waterway is in good condition but passage for boats is blocked by a number of culverted crossings, including the road from Naas to Newhall which crosses the canal near Jigginstown.

Published in Inland Waterways

With its first hire this Saturday, River Shannon Boat hire firm Carrickcraft is launching the first of its new steel–built Linssen vessels just in time for the 2017 season.

As Afloat.ie reported earlier, Ireland's largest cruise hire charter company is expanding its 115–boat fleet with the addition of five Dutch built boats over the next few seasons.

The first of these new steel yachts was on trial this week as pictured above at Clonmacnoise in Co. Offfaly. 

Cruise-Ireland placed an order at Linssen Yachts for five new yachts, which involves a turnover of more than €1m. The aim of this long-term collaboration is to extend the Cruise-Ireland fleet with several new Linssen Yachts every one or two years. Cruise-Ireland is a combination of two of the oldest yacht charter companies in Ireland: Carrickcraft and Waveline Cruisers.

New boats will go into the Cruise-Ireland bases in Banagher, two in Carrick and one on the Shannon one-way route.

Published in Inland Waterways

Lough Erne Heritage will hold a free talk at 2:00pm, on Saturday 25 February by Claire Foley on ‘The Archaeology of the Erne Waterways’.

Claire Foley, an archaeologist of some 45 years’ experience, working first from Dublin when she excavated Parkes Castle in Co Leitrim then from Belfast since 1975 working with the Department of the Environment on survey and excavation which included Creggandevesky court tomb in Co Tyrone and the iron age burial in Kiltierney in Fermanagh.

Claire spent 1976 and 1977 recording field monuments in Co Fermanagh and pioneering the recording visits to the many crannogs in the county. The results of this survey, a collaboration with many scholars, were published in 2014.

Most of Claire’s recent professional life has been spent managing programmes to help landowners and communities interpret and manage the many ancient monuments on their land.

Published in Inland Waterways

#SaveHistoricDocks - A Dublin docklands business group and waterways enthusiasts have called on Minister for Heritage Heather Humphreys to save a key piece of the Grand Canal basin’s Georgian architecture.

As The Irish Times writes The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) and the Docklands Business Forum (see related story) have initiated a petition this week which asks Ms Humphreys to ensure the basin’s lock gates and graving docks for ships are “restored, preserved and reused” for community gain.

The two groups believes Waterways Ireland wants to sell the graving docks site for further high rise development on the Liffey mouth.

The cross-Border agency is primarily responsible for the Grand Canal Basin and for the surrounding area where the three graving docks were constructed for vessel repair, while Nama also has a lease interest.

The graving docks and lock gates are as important to the heritage of the area as Battery Park is to New York, according to Docklands Business Forum’s chief executive Alan Robinson.

For more on this development click here.

Jehan Ashmore of Afloat adds that recently in an 'Aran Islands Snapshot' was featured the former ferry, Naomh Eanna which has been berthed in Grand Canal Dock for more than a quarter century.

The basin itself is considerably older having opened in 1796 for use of ships entering three docks to and from the River Liffey.

Only in recent years due to the threat of scrapping by Waterways Ireland that the historic Irish built ship was saved by campaigners. Among the reasons cited was due to possible sinking of the veteran vessel which led to the ship shifted from Charlotte Quay to a nearby disused graving dock dating to 1850's. 

There have been plans by maritime heritge enthusiasts to restore the 1958 Liffey Dockyard built Naomh Eanna that ran for CIE between Galway City and Aran Islands. The project involved relocating to her former homeport in the mid-west city as a floating museum amongst other functions. The proposed visitor attraction was welcomed by Galway Port with a dedicated berth.  

Grand Canal Basin was last used by commercial shipping until the 1960's. The three graving docks (the largest infilled) were used for repairs of small ships and canal barges.

Published in Dublin Port

On November 17th, the Association of Irish Local Government highlighted their serious concerns with the proposed legislation and its potential to deny the elected members of Local Authorities to input into proposed Canal Bye-laws that may affect the potential development of the Grand and Royal Canals and the Barrow Navigation say the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland.

The Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) highlighted that City & County Councils have a key interest in the management of Ireland's canal system arising from their responsibilities in the areas of tourism promotion, community and economic development, and the natural and built heritage. The 21 days proposed is too short for the local authority meeting cycle to afford councillors the opportunity to comment on draft byelaws and therefore the period should be extended to 90 days.

The Motion as tabled by Labour Councillor Dermot Lacey of Dublin City Council called on the Minister for Arts and Heritage to amend the Heritage Bill 2016 so as to increase from 21 days to 90 days the period for consultation in relation to bye-laws for canal management proposed to be made by Waterways Ireland, the statutory canal authority.

Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council & South Dublin County Council, have in the past month all unanimously passed emergency motions calling on Minister Humphreys to defer the introduction of the Heritage Bill given their concerns on it. The 90 days period proposed by the above Authorities is currently an approach used by Waterways Ireland already in relation to its corporate plan consultation process.

IWAI advise that while it would welcome and support proper regulations the proposed Heritage Bill does not put user requirements, local communities or tourism at the centre of the regulations. Rather it is a heavy handed approach that will result in a detrimental reduction of boat traffic on the canals.

IWAI believes that it is a negative and imbalanced approach to introduce legislation that penalises 99% of waterways communities to address the problematic area of 1% (due to unlicensed boats, harbour hogging). These matters can be legislated for without effectively penalising the other less populated areas.

Published in Inland Waterways

Inland Fisheries Ireland has launched its Sponsorship Fund for 2017 which will support angling events and initiatives across the country. The fund supported 44 events to the tune of €30,000 in 2016 with a particular focus on initiatives which help grow Ireland’s angling tourism product and support novice anglers. Angling in Ireland is currently worth €836 million to Ireland’s economy annually, supporting upwards of 11,000 jobs.

Inland Fisheries Ireland’s Sponsorship Fund aims to support large international competitions held in Ireland which showcase Ireland’s angling offering and contribute to local economies. The fund also contributes to novice angler events which increase participation in angling among those who have recently taken up fishing. Finally, it also helps initiatives which disseminate information which promote conservation and protection of the inland fisheries and sea angling resource and can include seminars, workshops and training. Support from the Sponsorship Fund can be either financial or resource support from Inland Fisheries Ireland staff members.

Angling offers rural communities the opportunity to increase the number of visitors to the area and in turn, support local business and create jobs by providing a sustainable source of income for both catering and accommodation services. Inland Fisheries Ireland’s National Strategy for Angling Development aims to increase overseas angling visits from 163,000 in 2015 to 173,000 and increase domestic participation of 273,000 anglers annually by 0.5%. If this is realised, angling could bring in an additional €53 million annually and support 1,800 jobs.

Suzanne Campion, Head of Business Development at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “We are delighted to launch our Sponsorship Fund for 2017 which will support angling clubs and groups nationwide in delivering programmes which ultimately drive angling participation rates. There is a huge network of angling communities nationwide and we want to support them in offering local events which engage domestic anglers, overseas anglers and those who are about to cast for the first time.

Ireland has some of the best wild fisheries in Europe and as a destination, we have a unique opportunity to grow our angling tourism product. This Sponsorship Fund is just one element of our National Strategy for Angling Development which aims to develop our angling tourism potential while also managing and conserving our fisheries resource.”

Inland Fisheries Ireland’s National Strategy for Angling Development is the first comprehensive national framework which will deliver a wide-ranging set of investments, innovations and promotions over the coming five years. It aims to make angling accessible and attractive through information, infrastructure and support, to develop tourism through the promotion of the angling resource and to position angling as a key leisure and recreation pursuit. The Strategy will deliver significant economic benefits in rural communities where much of angling takes place, while also ensuring that fish populations and habitats are protected and conserved.

Applications for funding from the Sponsorship Fund are now invited from angling clubs, associations or any local group organising an angling initiative. The scheme will remain open for applications until Friday, 9th of December 2016 and all applications can be made online at www.fisheriesireland.ie/funding. Awards will be subject to budget availability and adherence to the scheme requirements.

Published in Angling
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