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Users of recreational craft including canoes, kayaks, rowing boats, sailing craft and paddle boards are reminded of the importance of planning their voyage and avoiding dangerous weather and sea conditions.

As the high summer period approaches, the Department of Transport is urging all recreational craft users to comply with their voyage planning obligations before undertaking a trip.

Planning for a trip on the water includes considering:

  • Weather conditions and forecasts
  • Tides
  • The limitations of your vessel
  • Crew experience and physical ability
  • Any navigational dangers
  • Having a contingency plan for when things go wrong
  • Making sure someone knows your plans and what to do if they need to raise the alarm
  • Having reliable means of communication

Marine Notice No 30 of 2023 highlights this important information and the voyage planning principles. The notice also recommends that before going out on the water, all recreational craft users log a Traffic Report message via the nearest Irish Coast Guard radio station. All persons on board a pleasure craft of less than seven metres in length must wear a personal flotation device or a lifejacket.

Minister of State Jack Chambers said: “As we approach the busy weeks of summer, now is the time to make sure you know your obligations and understand the risks on the water. Be prepared, plan ahead and stay safe.

“I would ask all those who intend to be out on the water over the coming months to prepare, follow the advice and get informed. It’s not worth leaving it to chance.”

For further information on how to stay safe when using recreational craft, read the Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft.

Published in Water Safety
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The Department of Transport wishes to highlight the provisions of SOLAS Chapter V to small, privately owned recreational craft.

Although regulation 34 of Chapter V — “Safe navigation and avoidance of dangerous situations” — only applies when proceeding to sea, the department advises all recreational craft users to comply with the voyage planning principles.

These were previously highlighted in Marine Notice No 19 of 2021 following an MCIB report into the rescue of five Kinsale Yacht Club sailors from the yacht Loa Zour amid severe storm conditions off the Spanish coast in June 2019.

In Marine Notice No 30 of 2023, the department underscores this as well as the benefits of radar reflectors, the need for access to an illustrated table of the recognised life-saving signals, requirements around the assistance of other craft, the consequences of misuse of distress signals and more.

Full details can be found in Marine Notice No 30 of 2023 attached below.

Published in Water Safety