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Posted: 21/10/2020

COVID-19 Update 21 October 2020

 Executive Summary:

1.     Stay safe and avoid all unnecessary travel in order to protect our health services and save lives. Follow Government protocols and public health guidelines.

2.     Travel is permitted up to 5 kilometres from your home (ROI only) for essential travel and exercise, provided you continue to observe social distancing at all times.

3.     Navigation is 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 will be closed from 22nd Oct 2020.

5.     All Locks and bridges will be closed from 22nd Oct 2020 (with the exception of emergencies).

6.     The 5 day mooring rule has been suspended on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon Erne Waterways until 31 Oct 2020. The Winter Mooring period commences on 01 November 2020.


Following the recent Government announcements, in relation to the Covid plan, 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 for their continued efforts in observing the regulations and restrictions imposed on and along our waterways to date. We ask you to continue to keep up the good work.


Navigational Use:

Operational staff, Water Patrollers and Lock-Keepers are not available to undertake lock operations on any of our navigable waterways, however, we are continuing to deliver on our remit, 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:


•   Navigation is open (within 5km of your home ROI only).

•   All Waterways Ireland service blocks will be closed from 22nd Oct 2020.

•   Avoid all unnecessary travel. Travel in excess of 5km (ROI only) from your home to check on vessels moored on the navigation is prohibited until further notice.;

•   The 5 day mooring rule has been suspended on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon Erne Waterway until 31 Oct 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;

•   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;

•   The Winter Mooring period commences on 01 November 2020.


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 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;

•   Avoid unnecessary travel and stay local to your home where possible (within 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;

•   Park legally and responsibly if driving to outdoor amenities

•   Observe all health etiquettes when on the towpaths.


Discover Your Local Waterways

Now is the perfect opportunity to Discover Your Local Waterway (within 5km of your home, ROI only) or if you feel like staying inside, our Armchair Adventures will provide you with a virtual taste of the waterways.

You can discover local Hidden Gems, trails and more here



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.

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

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