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Displaying items by tag: River Shannon

Cruiser hire firms on the River Shannon have experienced a boom in business from ‘staycationers’ as holidays abroad this year were cancelled in droves, according to RTÉ News.

While some operators felt the brunt of coronavirus restrictions in the spring as they lost a lucrative international market, come summer the tide turned and now the industry as a whole says it is enjoying its most successful period in eight years.

Demand has been driven by a hungry domestic market grounded by lockdowns on foreign getaways — with RTÉ News highlighting Banagher in particular at its busiest this month.

And it’s hoped many of those who may be new to a cruising holiday, or other aquatic activities on Ireland’s inland waterways, will be hooked enough to return next season.

 

Meanwhile, the Shannon cruising boom has come alongside a rise in incidents involving cruisers getting into difficulty — with Lough Derg RNLI having a particularly busy week.

Most recently the inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer was called to a 36ft cruiser with four on board which ran aground in Youghal Bay on Thursday evening (10 September).

This followed rescues for a 20ft vessel with engine failure at the lough’s northeastern end on Wednesday; a 35ft cruiser aground by the Silver Islands on Monday evening; and a vessel with engine failure near Mountshannon Harbour last Sunday.

Also on Sunday, four people were rescued from a Shannon cruiser that caught fire and sank after difficulties in the Jamestown Canal.

The RNLI has repeated its call for all boat users, many of whom may be new to cruising or boating, to study their charts and stay on the navigation route.

Boaters should also ensure their engines are fully serviced, and that they have sufficient fuel for any journey — while lifejackets must be worn by everyone on board.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

Invasive chub have been confirmed in the River Inny in Longford, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

A single fish was caught on rod and line at one of a number of spots where IFI staff recorded possible sightings following reports from members of the public.

Chub (Squalius cephalus) are non-native to Ireland, with the potential to compete with native species for food and space as well as be a carrier of fish diseases and parasites.

The River Inny — a tributary of the Shannon — is the only Irish river in which they have been recorded thus far, and removal operations between 2006 and 2010 were thought to have eradicated the species from the system.

It is not yet clear whether the current chub are linked to the original population or were more recently introduced.

However, the threat of chub spreading through the Shannon system “is of real and pending concern to the biodiversity of Ireland’s biggest catchment”, says the fisheries body.

IFI’s head of research Dr Cathal Gallagher explained: “Ireland’s rivers are ecologically important ecosystems, which support significant recreational fisheries for native and established fish species.

“Non-native fish species threaten these ecosystems and the game and coarse fisheries that they support — potentially in unforeseen ways — and are thus a cause for concern.”

IFI appeals to anglers to protect Ireland’s fisheries by not moving fish between watercourses for any reason and to submit any sightings directly to IFI or on the hotline at 1850 347424 or 1850 FISH24.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Carrickcraft, the leading River Shannon Cruiser-Hire firm, expects to reopen its boat rental business from 20th July and aims to tap into the 'staycation' market as many Irish people are worried about flying abroad this summer due to COVID-19.

'A boat has always been the perfect place to get away from it all, but this year even more so', the firm says.

The firm that operates from bases on the rivers Shannon or Erne has a wide variety of craft available for short or long cruises as Afloat's David O'Brien find out in a three-day cruise through Roscommon in search of the Moone Boy Burger in 2017.

Carrickcraft says 'We will, of course, be practising best hygiene with social distancing at the marinas, and we will endeavour to get you on your way as quickly as possible'.

The July date also sees Cruise Ireland companies Locaboat, Waveline and Linssen boating holidays also reopen on the river.

Continued high water levels have prompted Waterways Ireland to prohibit access to the floating jetty in Shannonbridge on the Shannon Navigation.

All masters of vessels and users of the inland waterway are advised that lighting to the area has been turned off as the power supply distribution box is currently submerged.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland wishes to advise all masters of vessels and water users that the lock at Ardnacrusha power plant on the River Shannon will be closed for six weeks from Monday 20 January to Monday 2 March to facilitate essential maintenance works.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways apologises for any inconvenience caused and thanks all vessel owners for their co-operation.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has closed the public footpath running south from O’Briensbridge playground alongside the River Shannon south of Parteen Weir for the foreseeable future, following the discovery of critical failures in two culverts under the path.

Preliminary investigations revealed the need for urgent replacement work on both culverts, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says.

It adds that due to the sensitive habitat at the site on the Clare/Limerick border, planning permission is required before the works can go ahead, and this could take up to six months to come through.

“The health and safety risks associated with the two structures are such that it is essential the route is closed and remain so, until after the refurbishment works are completed,” it says.

“Waterways Ireland is aware that this is a popular route for the local community and apologises for any inconvenience caused by this closure.”

Published in Inland Waterways

BreakingNews.ie reports that a charity rower was left “shaken” after he was rescued from strong currents in the River Shannon at the Killaloe bridge.

Killaloe Coast Guard Unit were tasked at 2.40pm yesterday (Wednesday 25 September) to the scene where the rower had managed to secure his vessel to the navigation markers leading to the bridge.

The rescue team were with the rower within minutes and transferred him to safety while his vessel was taken under tow to the public slipway at Ballina.

BreakingNews.ie says the incident follows a “lucky escape” for three men last month whose lake boat collided with the same bridge.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

Waterways Ireland is proposing a permit system for the Shannon Navigation that could see users of Ireland’s longest river face charges for their boats for the first time, as The Irish Times reports.

Users of the Royal and Grand Canals must already pay for annual permits at a cost of €152 per vessel — and now the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways is reviewing its by-laws for the Shannon with a view to extending similar charges there, as well as spot fines for breaches of regulations.

But what might be the biggest hit to Shannon boaters’ budgets may be the end of the current winter mooring regime.

Vessels can currently be moored at public harbours and jetties for five months at a cost of €83 per boat. This would be replaced under the plan with the summer ‘five-day rule’, which itself is under review.

However, the proposals would also bring an end to the current charges for the use of locks. A smartcard system for locks and bridges was rolled out on the Shannon Navigation last autumn.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

RTÉ News reports that a major angling competition set for Athlone yesterday (Friday 16 August) was cancelled over the recent oil spillage in the River Shannon near the town.

Westmeath County Council has been investigating the pollution incident on the important waterway since earlier this week, as previously noted on Afloat.ie, but have not yet identified its source.

While efforts were made to contain the spill on the Al River, a tributary of the Shannon, locals say the slick has now spread to the old canal in Athlone town.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

The Irish Times says Westmeath County Council is investigating an oil spill on the River Shannon south of Athlone in which a number of fish and birds have died.

Efforts were made to contain the spill on the Al River, a tributary of the Shannon, after it was discovered at the weekend. The incident also affected marine wildlife in an area town as the Big Meadow some 1km from the Shannon bridge in Athlone.

Wildlife charity volunteers worked to rescue a number of cormorants and cygnets from the polluted waters, many of which needed special cleaning to remove oil from their feathers, while fish were also recovered for safety with the help of local anglers.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under
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The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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