Waterways Ireland | News Centre | News | News Article

Posted: 29/05/2020

Waterways Ireland Roadmap to Re-Opening the navigations


The Waterways Ireland roadmaps to the reopening of our navigations have been issued. They are available to view here;

-          NI roadmap

-          ROI roadmap




With the announcement of more easing of restrictions last week in Northern Ireland, Waterways Ireland have been introducing new COVID-19 procedures and protocols for compliance with Health and Safety legislation and we can now confirm that the above navigations will open today, Friday May 29th. Waterways Ireland's locks and service blocks will remain closed in line with the five step roadmap to recovery. Angling and paddle sports for exercise can resume on your own or with members of your household but should not be over long distances.



Navigational Use

It is important to understand that it will take time to fully open all 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 ask all our boaters to continue to observe the regulations.


We advise users on our ROI navigations that:

•   Navigation is open within 5km of your home. 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 July 20th 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;

•   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.




•   Electricity and water services have been reconnected;

•   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;

•   When on jetties please be aware of other users. Wait or move aside to allow others to pass at a safe distance.

•   All Waterways Ireland service blocks are closed.


Canal Towpaths and walks

Our plea 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;

•   Up to four people not of same household can meet outdoors while maintaining strict social distancing ;

•   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.


In all instances, social distancing must be maintained at all times keeping your distance from both other people and moored boats. Please refer to your relevant representative body for guidance on the most appropriate health and safety precautions and advice.

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.

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.  

Back to top