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Displaying items by tag: Shannon Erne Waterway

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 masters of vessels that the winter mooring period for public harbours on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne Waterway will commence on Monday 1 November and will end on 31 March 2022.

Masters wishing to avail of winter mooring on these inland waterways are required to pay the €63.50 fee prior to 1 November. Online registration must be made on the Waterways Ireland website HERE.

To apply, the following steps are involved:

  1. Apply online for Winter Mooring at a specific harbour.
  2. Receive email approval/rejection/alternative location of application.
  3. Follow link on approval email when received to pay winter mooring fee online.

Masters are reminded that Bye-law 17 — the “five consecutive days/seven days in one month” rule — continues to apply for masters not availing of winter mooring.

Waterways Ireland says it will be disconnecting its electricity supply points and water supply at public moorings for the winter period. Both services will be reinstated prior to the commencement of the 2022 boating season.

Masters are also reminded that vessels are moored in public harbours at the owner’s risk at all times and may be directed to other harbours as required.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels that dredging operations are taking place on the Shannon-Erne Waterway in Co Cavan until next Thursday 30 September.

Dredging works are in the vicinity of Lock 1 at Corraquil, Lock 2 at Ballydonnell and upstream of Ballyconnell Bridge.

During these operations, a floating pontoon will be located on the water with mechanical dredging plant operating. The navigable channel will remain open outside of the immediate area being dredged.

Masters of vessels are requested to comply with safety signage and obey all instructions from safety personnel who will be in the area.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises all masters of vessels and users of the Shannon-Erne Waterway that tree trimming and hedge cutting will be carried out at various locations on these inland waterways during the autumn/winter period from this month until next February.

During this operation, floating pontoons will be located on the water with mechanical plant operating. Plant machinery will also be in operation along the banks of the waterway.

Masters of vessels will be advised by Waterways Ireland staff when making a passage.

In addition to this, Waterways Ireland says it anticipates DfI Rivers in Northern Ireland will advise that from 1 October, in keeping with water level management protocols, users of the Erne System can expect reducing water levels throughout the navigation.

Water levels on Lower Lough Erne are drawn down annually, weather permitting, to a minimum of 149 feet (above Poolbeg Ordnance Datum) in anticipation of increased precipitation during autumn and winter.

If water levels do fall, masters should be aware of the following:

  • Navigation — To reduce the risk of grounding, masters should navigate on or near the centreline of the channel, avoid short-cutting in dog-legged channels and navigating too close to navigation markers.
  • Mooring of Vessels — Masters should be aware that water levels may change rapidly and that mooring lines will require adjustment. Therefore mooring lines should be checked regularly.
Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters and owners of vessels that high water levels exist in all areas of the Shannon-Erne Waterway.

The lower jetties at Locks 2, 3, 5 and 7 are currently submerged. In addition, the current across the navigation at Lock 15 is strong and could affect low-powered vessels.

Air draft under bridges has been reduced as a result of the high-water levels. As a result, masters of high vessels are advised to navigate with additional caution in the vicinity of bridges on the inland waterway.

Masters should consult with the relevant water patrollers prior to undertaking a passage on the Shannon-Erne Waterway today and tomorrow, Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 August.

Published in Inland Waterways

The British Government has announced a three-month delay in the implementation of the red diesel ban for private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland.

The move follows lobbying by Bangor Marina and others in the NI leisure boating industry who emphasised the dearth of white diesel options in the region.

Originally set to come into effect on 30 June, the red diesel ban is intended to meet the UK’s obligations under the Northern Ireland Protocol and bring the region in line with the 2018 judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

This is the same ruling which prompted the Republic of Ireland’s ban on green-dyed diesel for leisure craft propulsion last year.

In March, British Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his first post-Brexit Budget that boaters in England, Scotland and Wales would continue to use red-dyed diesel for pleasure boating without penalty in domestic waters — leaving NI boaters in limbo.

Bangor Marina says it met earlier this year with officials from HM Revenue & Customs, HM Treasury and RYANI “to discuss the difficulties we would face if we had to switch to white diesel in June.

“During that meeting, we did put forward a compelling proposal that the switch to white diesel should take place after the summer holidays.

“Today [Friday 21 May] we have been advised by HM Revenue & Customs that the UK government has decided to delay the implementation of the prohibition on red diesel used for propulsion of private pleasure boats in NI until 1 October 2021.

“More detailed guidance is expected to be produced in July.”

The decision will come as a relief for cruisers and leisure boaters across Northern Ireland as it emerges from lockdown into the summer boating season.

But with freedom of movement on the cross-border Shannon-Erne Waterway, the extension poses a “customs headache” for Irish authorities, a source close to Afloat.ie suggests.

And if the delay is any indication of a proclivity to continue moving the deadline back, the situation would deal a heavy blow to Irish suppliers, particularly in border areas — while also encouraging boats “to spend more time in NI and less [in the Republic]”, the source added.

Following the recent reopening of inland waterways in the Republic, Waterways Ireland has given an update for all masters of vessels and water users on the Erne System, the Shannon-Erne Waterway (within Northern Ireland) and the Lower Bann Navigation.

In line with guidance provided by the Northern Ireland Executive, from this coming Monday 10 May all service blocks will reopen on these navigations.

On the Erne System and the portion of the Shannon-Erne within Northern Ireland,, pump-out facilities are available and local area access to jetties and moorings will be available in according with NI Executive guidance. All locks will also reopen on the Shannon-Erne.

On the Lower Bann, service blocks will reopen on Wednesday 12 May, with local area access to jetties and moorings as previously noted.

Portna, Movanagher and Cutts locks will also reopen on Wednesday. However, Toome Lock remains out of operation until Friday 28 May for works, and Carnroe Lock is closed until further notes pending ongoing engineering investigations.

Waterways Ireland reminds users when on jetties to be aware of others; wait or move aside to allow others to pass at a safe distance.

“We will continually review such measures in light of direction and advice from Government and health professionals,” the cross-border body adds.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises all masters of vessels and inland waterways users of the Shannon Navigation, Shannon-Erne Waterway, Grand Canal, Royal Canal, Barrow Line and Barrow Navigation that these waterways will reopen from Monday 10 May in line with the latest relaxation in pandemic restrictions.

On the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne Waterway, the winter mooring period will end on this date and the five-day mooring rule will be in force.

Locks on will be open normal summer hours (9am to 8.30pm on weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Sundays on the Shannon Navigation; 9am to 8pm daily on the Shannon-Erne) and service blocks will also reopen.

An exception applies to the lock gates at Tarmonbarry on the Shannon Navigation, which remain closed for continued emergency repair works until Friday 28 May. Passage through the lock will not be possible during this period but an alternative route via the Camlin River is available.

No lock passage tolls will be collected in order to facilitate social distancing. Note that a smart card is required to operate locks on the Shannon-Erne Waterway and these can be purchased from Waterways Ireland’s online shop or from designated retails outlets along the waterway.

Shannon Navigation lock-keepers are available at the following phone numbers:

  • Lough Allen Canal - 071 964 1552
  • Clarendon Lock - 071 966 7011
  • Albert Lock - 071 963 7715
  • Rooskey Lock - 071 963 8018
  • Tarmonbarry Lock - 043 332 6117
  • Athlone Lock - 090 649 2026
  • Poolboy Lock - 090 964 4938
  • Victoria Lock - 057 915 1359
  • Portumna Bridge - 090 974 1011
  • Ardnacrusha - 061 344 515
  • Sarsfield Lock - 087 797 2998

Anyone who require assistance along the Shannon-Erne Waterway, meanwhile, is directed to contact the following:

  • Ballyconnell Waterway Patroller - 087 260 3662
  • Kilclare Waterway Patroller - 087 260 3663

Normal summer hours will also apply to locks on the Grand Canal, Royal Cabal, Barrow Line and Barrow Navigation.

Electricity and water services have been reconnected at all Waterways Navigations in the Republic, and normal pump-out facilities are available for boaters.

Visitors to the waterways are urged to be aware of other users and continue to observe social distancing protocols, keen a distance of at least two metres from others.

Waterways Ireland also notes that water levels are becoming low due to the recent period of low rainfall. In addition, normal maintenance weed-cutting of navigation channels has been late in starting due to the ongoing restrictions, so additional weed growth can be expected in the navigation channels.

Masters are asked to contact the local waterway patroller for updated information if wishing to navigate a particular area.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has announced that the winter mooring period on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne Waterway has been extended by another month until Friday 30 April.

There will be no additional cost for this extension, but masters of vessels are reminded that all locks and service blocks on these navigations remain closed until further notice.

Waterways Ireland is also encouraging all users of Ireland’s inland waterways not to take part in any activity on the water under the prevailing pandemic restrictions.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters and owners of vessels that all 16 locks on the Shannon-Erne Waterway will be out of service from this Thursday 24 December to Sunday 3 January inclusive.

No lock passage by boat will be possible on the inland waterway during this period. Normal service will resume at 9am on Monday 4 January.

Land- and water-based trails will remain open during this period, as will service blocks at Ballyconnell, Ballinamore, Keshcarrigan and Leitrim.

But the service blocks at Aghalane and Haughton’s Shore are closed and are not scheduled to reopen until Sunday 14 March.

Published in Inland Waterways
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