No. 38 of 2020
The Erne System, the Shannon Erne Waterway (within Northern Ireland) and the Lower Bann Navigation
COVID-19 Update 21 May 2020
Reopening of Navigations
With effect from 29 May 2020
Waterways Ireland wishes to advise all Masters of vessels and water users on The Erne System, the Shannon Erne Waterway (within Northern Ireland) and the Lower Bann Navigation of the following notice in relation to the reopening of these navigations.
Within the last seventy two hours the Northern Ireland Executive has announced more easing of restrictions as part of its five-step roadmap to recovery. Waterways Ireland is now planning the phased reopening of The Erne System, the Shannon Erne Waterway (within Northern Ireland) and the Lower Bann Navigation. Waterways Ireland is currently finalising its roadmap and the phased return of our workforce. It is important to understand that it will take time to fully open the navigations. It requires the introduction of new COVID-19 procedures and protocols for compliance with Health and Safety legislation. This involves the management and mitigation of risk, training of staff and provision of resources for the protection of staff and waterway users. We expect our roadmap to be issued in the coming days. Based on the time to mobilise we expect these navigations to reopen on May 29th.
We will in the intervening days issue communications to all stakeholders to keep them advised of our plans which are based on guidance from Government and health professionals. We will continue to protect our staff, our waterways users and the wider community throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
Following government advice, angling and paddle sports for exercise can resume on your own or with members of your household but should not be over long distances. Private boaters undertaking short trips on the water should proceed with caution as the above navigations and associated facilities may require attention following the lockdown period. In all instances, social distancing must be maintained at all times keeping your distance from both other people and moored boats. We would particularly ask that users exercise caution during the imminent holiday weekend period. Please refer to your relevant representative body for guidance on the most appropriate health and safety precautions and advice.
From May 29th:
As indicated, it will take time to reopen the above navigations. We expect they will reopen on May 29th. Waterways Ireland’s locks and service blocks will remain closed in line with the five step roadmap to recovery. We recognise the situation is constantly changing. Updates in the intervening days prior to reopening will be communicated via the issuance of Marine Notices, through our Waterways Ireland Social Media channels and our website - www.waterwaysireland.org
We advise users on the above navigations that:
• All Waterways Ireland locks and service blocks are closed and will remain closed in line with the five step roadmap to recovery.
• Pump-out facilities are available for use. 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.
• When on jetties please be aware of other users. Wait or move aside to allow others to pass at a safe distance.
• Social distancing continues to be maintained with only members of your household permitted to go onboard your boat until further notice.
• Refer to your relevant representative body for guidance on the most appropriate health and safety precautions and advice.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone https://www.waterwaysireland.org/contact-us
Waterways Ireland thanks all vessel owners and operators for their co-operation in relation to this matter.
Inspector of Navigation
21 May 2020
“Waterways Ireland, managing and promoting the inland waterways for the benefit of all…”