The River Bann is navigable from the sea to Lough Neagh. It is enjoyed by cruising boats, anglers, canoeists, waterskiers, wakeboarders and others. Zoning is in place to ensure the safe accommodation of all users.
The Lower Bann has two navigation authorities. Coleraine Harbour Commissioners manage the 8km of river from the Millennium Bridge in Coleraine to the sea and are responsible for Coleraine Harbour.
Contact Coleraine Harbour on
Tel no +44 (0)28 7034 2012
(V.H.F. Ch.12. Admiralty Chart Number 2499)
Waterways Ireland manage 52km of navigation from Lough Neagh to Coleraine Town Bridge.
Contact Waterways Ireland Coleraine Office on
Tel no +44 (0)287034 2358
Length & No of Locks
52km from Toomebridge to Coleraine (5 locks (1 double))
8km from Coleraine Centre to Barmouth (Managed by Coleraine Harbour Commissioners)
Length: 35 m
Beam: 5.5 m
Air draft: 1.5m at high water Coleraine
4.2m at low water Coleraine
Draft dimensions are given as a guide only and cannot be guaranteed.
*Masters of deep drafted boats are asked to contact the Operations office in Coleraine before travelling. Tel no +44 (0)28 7034 4342.
Along the Lower Bann the navigable channel is marked by red and white markers. Please keep to the white side of the markers.
All boats should have suitable lifejackets for every adult and child on board. Waterways Ireland promotes the wearing of lifejackets by all users.
The International Regulations for the Prevention of Collision at Sea apply on the Lower Bann Navigation.
The main navigation guidelines on the Lower Bann are:
· Keep to the right of the Channel when going upstream;
· Keep well clear when passing or overtaking;
· Make your intentions clear by early and distinct action;
· Give way to craft converging from the right;
· Give way to craft going downstream at bridges and channels;
· Give way to bigger, less manoeuvrable craft;
· Power must give way to sail, oar and paddle;
· Do not cross the bows of oncoming craft; and
· All users should be careful approaching locks and weirs, especially when the river is in flood.
A copy of the Regulations is available from most major book retailers.
Voluntary Code of Conduct
NOTE: Currently no bye-laws apply to navigation on the Lower Bann. A Voluntary Code of Conduct applies until navigation bye-laws come into operation.
The river is used by cruising boats, fishermen, canoeists, water-skiers and others,. To ensure that everyone can safely enjoy the river, please observe the following General Voluntary Code of Conduct:
· Respect other river users;
· Slow down when passing small craft and boats at jetties and slipways;
· Keep wash and wake to a minimum;
· Wear a buoyancy aid appropriate to activity;
· Use a kill cord/cut-out switch on sports boats;
· When skiing, have an observer or wing mirror;
· Only ski or jet-ski in appropriate zones;
· Ringoes and Biscuits should be used in ski zones only, at 32km.p.h./17 knots maximum with a rope no longer than 10m;
· Avoid damaging banks, vegetation and disturbing wildlife by minimising wash;
· Do not pollute the river with any kind of waste;
· Give due respect to others engaged in competitions;
· Slow down and keep clear of anglers and wading fishermen; and
· Respect all designated zones.
The zones are designated on the navigation guide by the coloured lines down the edge of each shore. Please check the colour code against the Key to ensure use of the correct zone.
Landing jetties at locks are provided for users waiting to pass through the locks. These jetties are not intended for overnight mooring.
The water level in Lough Neagh and flow in the Lower Bann are substantially controlled by large sluice barrages across the River at Toomebridge, Portna and the Cutts. In periods of very wet weather the inflow to Lough Neagh rises substantially above the maximum flow that can be released through the sluice gates. The excess is ponded in the lough. Following a period of intense rainfall the river will remain in spate for days and if necessary weeks, until the water in Lough Neagh falls to the appropriate level. When the river is in spate the approaches from upstream to the navigation locks at the Cutts in particular and the locks at Portna, Movanagher and Carnroe can be dangerous and there may be dangerous eddies and currents at the bridges.
Navigation Guides and Brochures
Detailed information on all the inland waterways is provided in the navigation guides and brochures produced by Waterways Ireland. In addition information is provided in Waterways Ireland booklets on places to eat, events and angling hotspots. Visit the Waterways Ireland webshop for further details www.shopwaterwaysireland.org
Maps and Charts
The Lower Bann is covered by three Ordnance Survey maps at 1:50,000 scale. These are:
· Number 4 (Sea to Castleroe)
· Number 8 (Castleroe to Portglenone)
· Number 14 (Portglenone to Lough Neagh)
Admiralty Chart 2494 'Plans on the North Coast of Ireland' covers the Bann Estuary.
Admiralty Chart 2163 covers Lough Neagh.
Emergency Services - Dial 999
On the water - ask for the Coastguard - Dial 999
Textphone - 18000 (for the hearing impaired)
PSNI non-emergency number - 101