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MARINE NOTICE

No 61 of 2013

SHANNON NAVIGATION

Athlone

Shannon Swim

Waterways Ireland wishes to advise masters and users of the Shannon Navigation that the "Shannon Swim" event will take place in Athlone on Sat 22 nd . Jun between 1800 hrs and 2000hrs.

The start of the swimming course will be in the vicinity of the Athlone By-Pass (M6) bridge and will proceed downriver to the Athlone Town bridge.

Masters are requested to proceed at slow speed and with minimum wash when in this area of the navigation and to note any advice given by race marshals and safety boat crew when approaching the course.

Waterways Ireland thanks masters for their co-operation in this matter.

C.J.Lawn
Lt Cdr (rtd)
Inspector of Navigation

13 Jun 2013
Tel: 353 90 6494232
Fax: 353 90 6494147

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

MARINE NOTICE

No 60 of 2013

Shannon Navigation & Shannon Erne Waterway

Voyage Planning

G8 Summit

Waterways Ireland has been requested by An Garda to advise masters and owners to allow extra time if planning a trip to the Erne System between 0800hrs on Fri 14 and 1900hrs on Tues 18 Jun as security checks associated with the G8 Summit will be in place. Please also refer to Marine Notice No 27 of 2013.

C.J.Lawn
Lt Cdr (rtd)
Inspector of Navigation

13 Jun 2013
Tel: 353 90 6494232
Fax: 353 90 6494147

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

#Coastguard - What would have been the Irish Coast Guard's longest ever rescue mission was stood down at the last minute after the casualty in question was deemed to be in a stable condition.

According to the Irish Independent, the Shannon-based coastguard rescue helicopter was dispatched on the 300-nautical-mile mission to retrieve a man in his 70s from a cruise liner en route to Cobh from the United States.

The distance was so great that the helicopter, the new Sikorsky S-92 with the call sign Rescue 115, was forced to land on an offshore oil rig 180km off Kerry to refuel.

While there the chopper experienced a technical issue and was grounded for safety reasons while an engineer was sent to the oil rig on board Waterford's Rescue 117.

However, in the meantime a second doctor on board the MS Marina determined that the patient - who was feared to have had a stroke - was in a stable enough condition to be transferred to hospital upon the ship's arrival in Cobh early today.

The Irish Examiner confirms that the casualty was a 79-year-old American.

Published in Coastguard

#InlandWaterways - Waterways Ireland advises masters and owners that a green starboardhand navigation mark is reported missing just south of Athlone Lock on the eastern side of the Shannon Navigation opposite the old Athlone Canal entrance.

Masters should proceed with caution when navigating this section of the river.

Elsewhere on the Shannon, a triathlon swimming training course is now set out in Lough Key between Castle Island and the mainland to the west, in an area off the navigable channel.

This will be in place until the end of September and is marked by four yellow buoys. When swimmers are on the course they will be accompanied by a safety boat and will be wearing high visibility swim hats.

Training will take place Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7am till 8am and Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm till 8pm. Masters are requested to navigate at slow speed and with a low wash when passing the area.

Further information may be had from Donal Kennedy of Lough Key Triathlon Club at 086 109 2626 or [email protected]

Meanwhile, a swimming event will take place on Sunday 9 June from Shannon Harbour to Banagher Harbour.

Masters are requested to navigate at slow speed and with a low wash when passing the area during the event, which will take place between 1pm and 3.30pm.

For more details contact Jerry O’Meara of Shannonside Sub Aqua Club at 087 776 4252 or [email protected]

Published in Inland Waterways

#Angling - The battle to stem the decline of salmon stocks in Ireland's inland waterways has taken a step forward in Limerick with the news that net fishing on the River Feale will be banned from the end of July.

As the Limerick Leader reports, the end of licensed net fishing on the Feale - and important salmon spawning watercourse that flows from the Mullaghareirk Mountains in Cork through Limerick and Kerry to the mouth of the Shannon - has been welcomed by local stakeholders as "a vital step towards restoring depleted fish stocks on the embattled river".

Salmon stocks in the Feale alone have reportedly collapsed by more than 10,000 in just six years.

Local angler Brendan Danagher said that the decision to ban net fishing would also encourage anglers to accept other restrictions for conservation on the river - which include a maximum catch of one fish per person per day, with a total of three catches allowed per individual till the end of the season.

“If they’re bringing in new bylaws, they must have the goodwill of anglers," he added.

The Limerick Leader has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#RNLI - Kilrush RNLI launched twice on Tuesday 19 March to a reported flare or red smoke sighted off the coast on the River Shannon.

On both launches at 12.15pm and later at 9.27pm, both crews quickly assembled and set off to the locations along the river outlined by Valentia Coast Guard. 



On the first callout, the volunteer lifeboat crew searched from Querrin Point to Cappa village following accounts from the public that a small aircraft had been seen aflame while on approach.

Shannon helicopter and crews from the Kilkee and Mallow coastguard who were involved with another incident in Ballybunnion, crossed the waters and joined in the search.



After two-and-a-half hours the search was stood down as the Aviation Department stated there were no aircrafts in the region. The conclusion thus far is that the object seen was a meteorite burning up in the atmosphere. 



Shortly before 9.30pm, the inshore crew was paged again by Valentia Coast Guard to launch in response to members of the public who saw flares in the Kilrush area. 

The lifeboat launched and after an hour was stood down as there was no evidence along the shore from Cappa to the Moneypoint area. The unit of the Kilkee Coast Guard also carried out an intense shore search.


Kilrush RNLI helm and volunteer lifeboat press officer Pauline Dunleavy praised the members of the public who put these calls into action, even though in this case they turned out to be false alarms.

"We would urge anyone who does see anything suspicious out on the water to dial 999 without delay," she said. "It could be the reason a life was saved."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#InlandWaterways - Waterways Ireland advises that the Office of Public Works (OPW) is presently conducting flow measurements in Athlone and Banagher on the Shannon Navigation till Thursday 21 March 2013.

The measuring instrument will be lowered from the bridge to the river and then moved laterally across the bridge arches to take the measurements. The procedure will only take a matter of minutes at each arch.

Masters approaching the navigation arch of these bridges should be prepared to stop short and await instructions from OPW staff as to when it is safe to proceed through the arch.

Meanwhile, masters of vessels on the Shannon-Erne Waterway are advised that underwater inspection of weirs shall commence next Tuesday 19 March to be completed on Wednesday 3 April.

Masters approaching weirs should be prepared to stop short and await instructions from the dive safety officer before proceeding.

Published in Inland Waterways

#shannon – The winter mooring period on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne ends on Sun 31 Mar 2013 thereafter Navigation Bye-law No. 17(3) applies. Vessels should not berth in the same harbour for longer than the statutory period of five consecutive days nor more than a total of 7 days in any one month.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

#InlandWaterways - Waterways Ireland advises all masters of inland vessels and the public that the Emergency Services will conduct a major water-based exercise centred on Upper Lough Erne and the Shannon-Erne Waterway next Saturday 16 February 2013.

The areas of Geaglum, Derryadd, Kilmore, Corradillar and Naan Island in Upper Lough Erne will all be affected between the hours of 10am and 10pm, while Ballyconnell on the Shannon-Erne Waterway will be affected between 2pm and 6pm.

Published in Inland Waterways
24th January 2013

Making Waves On The Canals

There's an old joke about a Scottish hellfire preacher trying to educate his flock about the punishment awaiting them if they do not mend their ways. He tells them that the ungodly will find themselves in the flames of hell, suffering unimaginable torments, and that they will cry to the lord for mercy, saying "Laird, laird, spare us: we didna ken whit torments awaited us." And, he tells them, the lord in his infinite goodness and mercy will gaze down upon them from heaven and he will say unto them "Well, ye ken noo".

 

WI and the canals

Some folk with boats on the Royal, Grand and Barrow may be feeling a bit like the ungodly at the moment, with the role of the lord being played by Waterways Ireland (WI). It seems that, as predicted here, WI is finally moving to take control of its canals.

Several new initiatives are under way, more are promised, some are predicted — and all in all it probably amounts to the biggest set of changes to boating on the canals since the end of commercial carrying. Furthermore, there are suggestions that the canals are being seen as a pilot study: that some of the changes will be applied to the Shannon and the Erne in years to come.

 

Cheap boating

Until now, you could keep a boat on the canals for e126 a year. That covered as many miles as you wanted and passage through as many locks as you wanted; it also covered mooring for the year. There is a bye-law that says you must not stay in one place for more than five days at a time, but it was widely ignored and scarcely ever enforced.

So you could, for example, keep your boat near Dublin, perhaps at a location close to a railway station, and live on it all year round. Or you could keep it there in the winter and move to the Shannon end for the summer, basing your boat at Shannon Harbour (Grand Canal), just one or two locks away from the Shannon, or at Richmond Harbour (Royal Canal), just one lock away. The cost was well below that of a Shannon marina berth.

The bye-laws simply did not reflect the ways in which people actually used boats, either as pleasure craft or for living on. And the charges to users were well below the cost of competitors' products (e.g. commercial marinas' charges), well below the charges on UK waterways and, in particular, well below the cost of running the waterways.

 

Costs to taxpayers

In the year ended 31 December 2010, WI's operating income, excluding "net deferred funding for pensions", was e547,000. That's the total for all waterways, coming from licences (e34,000), property (e210,000), operations (e202,000), interest (e1,000) and other (e100,000). The programme costs (excluding staff and other costs) were:

• Barrow e723,000

• Grand e2,074,000

• Royal e2,873,000

• the rest e2,098,000.

So the Grand, by itself, cost almost as much as the Lower Bann, the Erne, the Shannon and the Shannon–Erne Waterway put together. The Barrow, Grand and Royal accounted for 73% of the costs but for a far lower proportion of the boats and the income.

I don't intend that as a reflection on the efficiency with which the different waterways are operated: canals are entirely different in nature to river and lake navigations, with far more waterways infrastructure, and will cost more to run. But I give the figures for two reasons. First, they show that, if WI wanted to reduce the gap between income and expenditure, it would inevitably focus on the canals. Second, the figures give some idea of the extent of the subsidy being provided by the taxpayer to canal-based boaters: if there are, say, a thousand boats based on the canals and Barrow, each of them is being subsidised by (on average) about e5,500 a year from the taxpayer.

 

Costs to boaters

I'm always inclined to look at the economic angle, but WI doesn't dwell on it. Nonetheless it will increase the costs to boaters and will also increase WI's income. Instead of a single e126 annual charge, boaters will now pay

• e126 for a Combined Mooring

& Passage Permit

• e152 for an Extended Mooring

Permit (EMP)

• e250 as a damage deposit,

which I presume will be rolled

forward in succeeding years.

Furthermore, boaters applying for Extended Mooring Permits (EMPs) must produce insurance certificates; for anyone currently uninsured, that will be an extra cost, as will any survey and remedial work required.

There will be other extra costs, of which more below, in future years.

 

Controlling mooring

At the core of WI's current activity is its taking control of the banks. It is marking out lengths that can be allocated to boats; it will allocate those lengths to those applying for EMPs. It does not guarantee that boaters will get their preferred spaces, or that they will get the same space every year. But once a space has been allocated, it is reserved for one boat for the year and cannot be used by another. That probably seems obvious to anyone renting a marina berth but it will be a new practice on the canals.

The EMP system was applied first at Rathangan and Vicarstown on the Barrow Line, between Lock 34 and Griffith Bridge on the Grand and at Confey (Leixlip), 15th Lock and 45th Lock (near Richmond Harbour) on the Royal. The second batch will include places in the Grand Canal Dock in Dublin, at Pike Bridge, near Maynooth, and at Abbeyshrule on the Royal and near Lock 34 on the Royal. There will be more batches through to spring 2013; full details on http://www.waterwaysireland.org; select New Canal Permit System from the menu on the left.

Continuous Cruisers (as they're called in Britain), folk who stay no more than five days in one location, will not be required to have EMPs.

So what happens if a boater doesn't apply for an EMP but doesn't cruise continuously? If I'm reading the bye-laws correctly, WI has the power to remove a boat, store it and, if necessary, sell it, charging the owner for the costs of doing so.

 

Information or consultation?

There has been some criticism of WI for not holding consultation meetings before beginning to implement its new policy. My own view is that WI was right: such meetings produce more heat than light, with too much attention on minor individual matters and not enough useful comment on the principles. There is much to be said for creating facts on the ground.

But if consultation has been restricted, the flow of information has not. In fact WI has used its website very effectively, setting out its plans, explaining the procedures and providing FAQs with useful, not PR-type, answers. Whoever has been in charge of that exercise deserves to be commended.

 

Insurance and dry docking

One thing WI has communicated is that there is more to come.

From 2015 Waterways Ireland will be introducing the requirement for boats needing permits and wishing to use the canals to have a current hull survey to provide evidence that the boat is in good condition. [...] Your attention is being drawn to this requirement now to allow you time to prepare for 2015. [...]

The Licensee undertakes to have regular inspections of the gas and electric services of his Boat as required to ensure these are kept in a safe and serviceable condition. [...]

All Boats must carry adequate fire fighting equipment and have same serviced as per the manufacturer's recommendations. [...]

It is not permitted to re-fuel Boats at an extended mooring.

The requirement for insurance will probably mean more boats needing hull surveys; there is an explicit requirement for such surveys from 2015 onwards. That will put extra pressure on the dry docks, where WI has already introduced restrictions on the boats that can use them and the work that can be carried out. There is, in my view, an urgent and growing need for well-capitalised, well-managed boatyards along all our waterways. The requirements also suggest a need for more fuel sellers along the canals; as far as I know the only one is at Lowtown.

 

The Shannon and the Erne

The new arrangements will mean better management of the canals, safer boats and more income from WI, all desiderata. But the real excitement would come with their extension to the Shannon and the Erne. The legal basis for charging might have to be different, but WI must surely be planning to raise much more money from Shannon and Erne boaters. The current Shannon lock and bridge fees are pathetically small, hardly worth collecting, and they are not paid at all by those who stay on the lakes.

I am writing this before the Republic's budget is published, but I cannot imagine that it will contain good news for WI. I suspect that it will have to raise much more money itself, and that means from charges to various types of users. Robin Evans, chief executive of Canal & River Trust, which runs the former British Waterways navigations in England and Wales, said recently that his organisation gets only 35% of its funding from the State. The Irish Government must look enviously at that figure.

But it must consider the price elasticity of demand for inland boating. Usage, as measured (however imperfectly) by Shannon lock and bridge passages, has been falling over the last ten years. The chart below shows the figures for the first ten months of each year: at time of writing, figures for November and December 2012 were not available.

It may be time to reinvent the Shannon once again.

Published in Brian Goggin
Page 6 of 10

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