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Displaying items by tag: Grand Canal

Waterways Ireland advises users of the Grand Canal from Lock 12 in Lucan to Hazelhatch that the towpath on the north bank will be closed from Monday 10 January to Sunday 6 February inclusive.

This four-week closure is to facilitate site investigation works for the Grand Canal Greenway Project, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says.

Published in Inland Waterways

A number of greenways along Ireland’s waterways will benefit from a funding package for greenways and national roads worth two-thirds of a billion euro, which was announced today (Friday 17 December).

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan confirmed that Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has issued funding allocations totalling €676 million to local authorities for 2022.

Out of this, €60 million has been allocated to around 40 greenway projects across the country in 2022, in nearly every single county. This funding is part of an overall commitment to invest €360 million per year in active travel over the lifetime of the Government.

Minister Ryan said the funding will also support extensions of the Grand Canal Greenway in Offaly, Kildare and South Dublin and join the Waterford to New Ross Greenway with the Waterford Greenway, among other projects.

He continued: “I’m particularly happy that agreement has been reached on a Code of Best Practice for National and Regional Greenways. This code has been agreed with the farming representative bodies and other stakeholders and provides us with an approved way to achieve voluntary land sales for Greenways where needed.

“Community buy-in is central to the future of our Greenways, which are one of the big success stories of rural Ireland. Greenways are a wonderful amenity for leisure and tourism, and they are also important for everyday journeys to school, work or the shops.”

Published in Inland Waterways

Offaly County Council is calling on the public to have their say on the Banagher Marina Master Plan in an online consultation.

It’s hoped that projects arising from the master plan will help to reposition Banagher Marina as a tourism draw on the Grand Canal, offer new opportunities to local businesses and improve the experience of living in and around the town for local residents.

The council says the project is “one element of a larger regeneration plan for the town and is being led by a multidisciplinary team of experienced architects, engineers, planners and tourism consultants”.

It adds: “Help us develop a master plan for Banagher Marina and environs to create an area that everyone will love.”

The online consultation is open for submissions until Tuesday 14 December.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises users of the Grand Canal towpath in Co Kildare from Lock N1 in Osberstown to Soldier’s Island in the Sallins area that sections of this towpath will be closed to the public until Wednesday 22 December.

This is to facilitate essential ongoing canal maintenance works in the area, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has issued a reminder to all masters and owners of vessels that all canal permits expired on 1 November and must now be renewed.

Permits can be renewed online at the Waterways Ireland website.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways warns that vessels not compliant with the Canal Act 1986 (Bye-Laws) 1988, such as

  • Vessels with no permit, Bye Law 6(8);
  • Vessels non-attended and apparently abandoned, Bye Law 6(8);
  • Vessels doubled moored and causing obstruction (sunk), Bye Law 27 (3); and
  • Vessels deemed to be/likely to cause a hazard to navigation, Bye Law 33(3)

will be removed from the Grand Canal, Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation. Removed vessels may then be subsequently disposed of in accordance with Bye Law 34(2).

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, last year saw a big jump in the number of boat removals from the inland waterways under a programme to remove abandoned, sunken and “non-compliant” boats and structures from the canals network.

Published in Inland Waterways

Amid concerns over reduced water levels this year on the Grand and Royal Canals, Afloat.ie reader and former Oireachtas policy advisor Cathal Murphy fears for the future of Ireland’s inland waterways

Water levels on the canals plummeted over recent months. This was seen on the Royal Canal and Grand Canal and along the latter’s Barrow Line. They were so bad in parts that boats could not move on these 200-year-old navigations.

The water levels in parts were allegedly down over half a metre, the lowest in living memory. These historic pieces of heritage are under threat because if water levels continue to decrease they will not survive.

Is it structural problems? Is climate change responsible? The answers are yet to be found. The canals are supposed to have a stable water level, they are supplied off feeders which are water sources redirected from rivers.

These canals are great pieces of engineering, naturally maintaining their levels for boats to navigate. But suddenly after two centuries of functional infrastructure, we are seeing boats halted as water levels shrink.

The State at the moment is putting millions into greenway and blueway routes along these canals, but without the water and the boats these will become just paths along empty trenches in the countryside. It should be a basic function to keep water levels up as has been done for the past 200 years.

Illustrating the reduction in water levels on the Barrow Line in Co Laois in September 2021 | Credit: Cathal MurphyIllustrating the reduction in water levels on the Barrow Line in Co Laois in September 2021 | Credit: Cathal Murphy

It is not just the heritage affected. These waterways maintain immense biodiversity. Low water levels increase algal blooms, with devastating effects on fish and other invertebrates that use the habitat of the canal.

There is huge cultural and historical importance to the canals, forming a network upon which nature flourishes, history is functioning and people travel. Ireland needs them. They encourage tourism from both home and abroad so people can navigate these waterways like the canals of England and France.

Waterways Ireland, who maintain the canals, have said previously that low levels are due to leaks and not enough machinery to maintain the feeders that supply the canal, and maintain canal navigation.

Although this year we have seen some of the lowest levels, this has been an ongoing issue for a decade. This year marine notices stated that water levels were down 45cm in late August, and anecdotally they were down 60cm from Monastarevin to Athy along the Barrow Line.

The drying up of our canals is happening in front of our eyes. Some interim measures have been taken that have seen a rise in water levels in recent weeks but these are not long-term.

Whatever the reason for the water disappearing, the canals need to be protected, and to be seen as the asset of the State that they really are — and an amenity to all.

Published in Your Say

Boat removals from Ireland’s canals jumped in 2020 — with the total for the year at 150% of the previous four years combined.

The figures were revealed by Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan in his response to a Dáil question from Dun Laoghaire TD Cormac Devlin requesting a breakdown of the number of boats removed from rivers, canals and inland waterways between 2016 and 2020.

Across the canals network (and excluding the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne Waterway) under the jurisdiction of Waterways Ireland, a total of 45 boats deemed to be in breach of bye-laws were removed in 2020.

This compares to just seven the previous year, 17 in 2018, none in 2017 and seven in 2016 — a total of 31 in the four years leading to 2020.

On the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne Waterway, the figures over the last three years were more consistent, with 17 removals in 2020, 12 in 2019 and 15 in 2018. There were no removals on these waterways in 2017 or 2016.

Minister Noonan noted that the rise in removals on the canals last year can be credited to a compliance programme initiated by Waterways Ireland “to remove abandoned, sunken and non-compliant boats, vessels and structures from the canals network”.

He added: “This programme by the agency has resulted in improved water quality, improved compliance, and removed many unsightly boats, vessels and structures from the waterways.”

The Canals Bye Laws 1988 and the Shannon Navigation Bye Laws 1992 provide Waterways Ireland with the powers to remove boats, vessels and other structures that are in breach of the bye-laws.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a number of live-aboard barge owners on the Grand Canal feared losing their homes under last year’s removal drive.

But they were spared at the 11th hour when Minister Noonan stepped in to promise engagement with Waterways Ireland on a long-term solution.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises all masters and owners of vessels on the Grand Canal that Offaly Rowing Club will be holding its Tullamore Time Trial on the inland waterway in the Cappincur area on Saturday 2 October.

The event will take place between Ballycommon and Daingean between 9am and 4pm. Navigation will be restricted during this period, and masters of vessels are requested to comply with event stewards.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Grand Canal that Lock N1 on the Naas Branch is closed to boat passage until further notice due to a recent vehicle collision with the adjacent Osberstown Bridge.

The lock cannot currently be operated as it is unsafe to pass underneath the bridge until repairs are carried out, the cross-border body for the island’s inland waterways says.

Published in Inland Waterways

A live-aboard boat owner had a lucky escape after an explosion on his vessel at Hazelhatch on the Grand Canal on Saturday morning (28 August).

It’s reported on social media that the owner was trapped on his boat until the side blew out as the fire was blocking the only exit.

The man is said to be recovering with family after suffering burns to his face and experiencing shock.

Published in Inland Waterways
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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