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Posted: 08/05/2020

Marine Notice No 34 of 2020 - Shannon Navigation, Shannon-Erne Waterway, Royal Canal, Grand Canal, Barrow Line and Navigation - Covid-19 measures - Access to Navigations and availability of services – Updated 08 May 2020

Notice Number 34 of 2020

MARINE NOTICE

No.34 of 2020

Shannon Navigation, Shannon-Erne Waterway, Royal Canal, Grand Canal, Barrow Line and Navigation

Covid-19 measures

Access to Navigations and availability of services – Updated 08 May 2020

Waterways Ireland wishes to advise all Masters of vessels and water users of the Shannon Navigation, Shannon-Erne Waterway, Royal Canal, Grand Canal, Barrow Line and Navigation that the following access to navigations and availability of services is in effect until further notice:

Executive Summary:

1. Stay safe and stay at home in order to protect our health services and save lives.

2. It is now possible to go up to 5 kilometres from your home (ROI only) for essential travel or for the purposes of brief exercise, provided you continue to observe social distancing at all times.

3. Navigations are open up to 5 kilometres from your home (ROI only), provided you continue to observe social distancing at all times.

4. All Waterways Ireland service blocks are closed.

5. The Winter Mooring period on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon Erne Waterway has been extended until 31 May  2020. There will be no additional cost for this extension.

6. Waterways Ireland are currently planning the roadmap to the re-opening of our navigations and any decisions on service provision will be communicated via the issuance of Marine Notices, through our Waterways Ireland Social Media channels and website. We anticipate the roadmap will be completed and communicated to all stakeholders, including our users, within the next 10 days.

Following the recent Government announcements in the Republic of Ireland, in relation to the Roadmap to Re-Open Society and Business (https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/e5e599-government-publishes-roadmap-to-ease-covid-19-restrictions-and-reope/), we would like to remind users that we are continuing to implement measures, based on guidance from Government, and health professionals, in order to protect our staff, our stakeholders and the wider community during the COVID-19 crisis.

We would like to thank all stakeholders in observing the regulations and restrictions imposed on and along our waterways.  Your observance of such regulations is having a positive impact on the spread of the virus, releasing pressure on our health services, which are now, more than ever, required to protect those who are most in need.  We ask you to continue to keep up the good work.

Our message to all users of our waterways continues to be PLEASE STAY AT HOME.

Roadmap for reopening the navigations

Waterways Ireland are currently planning the roadmap to the re-opening of our navigations and the phased return of our workforce. Our roadmap will involve engaging with various stakeholders, such as user groups and other state agencies. We recognise the situation is constantly changing and we ask for your patience during this time. Any updates to the situation will be communicated via the issuance of Marine Notices, through our Waterways Ireland Social Media channels and website. We anticipate the roadmap will be completed and communicated to all stakeholders, including our users, within the next 10 days.

5km rule (ROI only)
From Tuesday, 5th May 2020, it is possible to travel up to 5 kilometers from your home for the purposes of essential travel or for brief exercise, provided you continue to observe social distancing at all times.

Navigational Use
We are aware that this is normally a time when our boating community look forward to spending time on the water, meeting friends and planning excursions for the year ahead.  During the COVID-19 crisis such interactions will not be possible. Our navigations have been effectively closed since 30th March 2020 in order to comply with Government guidelines.  Operational staff, Water Patrollers and Lock-Keepers are not available to undertake lock operations on any of our navigable waterways.  We are continuing to undertake essential management of water levels, and any emergency works that may arise, under strict social distancing protocols.  We ask all our boaters to continue to observe the regulations. We advise users on our navigations that:

• Navigations are open within 5km of your home (ROI only).
• All Waterways Ireland service blocks are closed.
• Travel in excess of 5km (ROI only) from your home to check on vessels moored on the navigation is prohibited until further notice.
• Winter mooring facilities have been further extended until 31st May 2020 in order to ease the pressure on our boating community.  Boaters do not need to travel to move their vessel. There will be no additional cost for this extension.
• Electricity and water services have been reconnected following completion of assessments of health and safety issues in the aftermath of the recent flooding.
• Normal pump-out facilities are available for boaters.  Owners must ensure that travel to pump-out facilities must be undertaken in a responsible manner, minimising the amount of essential movement out on the water.

Canal Towpaths
Our towpaths remain open and accessible for local exercise.  We are however asking users of our canal towpaths to limit their use, and only use towpaths which are in close vicinity (5km in ROI) of your home.  Our request to everyone thinking of using our towpaths is:

• Observe social distancing protocols - keep a distance of at least 2m (6 feet) away from other people;
• Use the towpaths for brief physical exercise only;
• Limit use – do not take part in physical activity on towpaths which have the potential for large numbers, where social distancing cannot be observed comfortably;
• Don't meet up with other groups;
• Stay in your family household group;
• Stay local to your home (5km ROI only);
• As towpaths in some places can be narrow, when you pass someone, please make sure you use the full width of the towpath, keep moving, and stand aside to allow others to pass, in single file, when necessary;
• If you can't avoid passing a moored boat please keep as far away from it as possible and pass quickly by;
• Be mindful of others and act always with consideration and with respect and observe the leave no trace principles and protect our environment;
• Observe all health etiquettes when on the towpaths.

We are aware that restriction of services and facilities impacts on the ability of users to enjoy our wonderful waterways.  All measures are being taken to support the national effort in keeping people safe, protecting our staff, colleagues, partners and everyone who visits, or lives on and around our canals and river navigations. 

We will continually review such measures in light of direction and advice from Government and health professionals and any decisions on service provision will be communicated via the issuance of Marine Notices. If we all continue to observe government guidance, follow advice to limit use, and strictly observe social distancing, together we can combat this pandemic – and be able to enjoy getting back out on or by our waterways when we've beaten it.

While our staff are working from home, they are available by phone during normal working hours. Should you need our assistance please do contact us by email at info@waterwaysireland.org or by phone https://www.waterwaysireland.org/contact-us.  We also have interesting articles and educational materials accessible online through our Learning Zone for use by you and your families - www.learning.waterwaysireland.org.

Continual Updates:
Continual updates are provided by both the HSE in Ireland and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland on the COVID-19 virus.  If you would like to access the latest information about the virus, you are advised to refer to the HSE coronavirus page (Ireland) or the PHA website www.publichealth.hscni.net. (Northern Ireland).

We ask all our stakeholders, families and colleagues to continue to be safe during the crisis and Stay at home.

Waterways Ireland thanks all vessel owners and operators for their co-operation in relation to this matter. 


 
Paddy Harkin
Cdr (Rtd)
Inspector of Navigation,
Waterways Ireland,
The Docks,
Athlone,
Co Westmeath
00 353 87 9852324

“Waterways Ireland, managing and promoting the inland waterways for the benefit of all…”



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