Waterways Ireland is the navigation authority for the Inland Navigable Waterways including the Barrow Navigation, Erne System, Grand Canal, Lower Bann, Royal Canal, Shannon Erne Waterway and Shannon Navigation.
Each of these waterways has been made navigable under different authorities, at different times and with different facilities & levels of equipment to assist the passage of the user.
As a result the boats that will fit, methods of operation, the services and facilities provided and the level of staff supporting the services varies widely. Before making your passage, plan ahead to take into account the variances between the waterway systems and the difference this will make to your journey.
There are elements common to every waterway journey, including the need to obey bye-laws, plan for emergencies and observe the Marine Notices. Some of these elements are listed below, but are not exclusive.
General Navigational Information: For specific information on each waterway go to the Places to Go menu and select your waterway.
Lifejackets: The Bye-laws state that boats should have suitable lifejackets for every adult and child on board. Waterways Ireland promotes the wearing of lifejackets by all users. See the Maritime Safety Act, 2005 for further information.
Marine Notices: Marine Notices are issued by the Waterways Ireland Inspectorate to draw the attention of boat users to navigational issues such as high water levels, navigation works and closures, and to highlight potential areas of danger. They also remind boat users of their obligations and responsibilities under the Navigation Bye-laws. Marine Notices are issued when required and are published on this website. If you would like to receive Marine Notices by email, please send a request.
Maintenance: Maintenance works on the waterways are, where possible, carried out during the winter months i.e. 1st November to 17th March. Before travelling you are advised to view the Marine Notices or contact the Inspectorate Ph: +353 (0)906 494 232.
Charts, Guides & Books: Detailed information on the waterways is given in the navigation charts and guides produced by Waterways Ireland. Waterways Ireland also produces booklets on places to eat, events and angling. To view a full range of publications, visit Waterways Ireland's online shop www.shopwaterwaysireland.org
Bio-Security: Please read Bio-security for Boat Movements between Waterways
Winter Moorings: Winter Moorings are available at all Waterways Ireland's public jetties/harbours on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne Waterway. The "Winter Mooring Period" commences on 1st November and ends on 31st March, both days inclusive. Charges as laid out in the Shannon Navigation Bye-laws, 1992 (S.I. No 80 of 1992) apply. If you wish to avail of this facility contact the Inspectorate by email or phone +353 (0)906 494 232 in advance of using the facility.
The following legislation applies to Ireland's inland waterways;
Shannon Navigation Act, 1990
Shannon Navigation (Extension of Limits of Navigation) Bye-laws, 1991
Shannon Navigation Bye-laws, 1992
Shannon Navigation (Construction of Vessels) Bye-laws, 1992
Shannon Navigation (Extension of Limits of Navigation) Bye-laws, 1998
Ireland's Inland Waterways – Navigational Information
Canals Act, 1986
Canals Act, 1986 Bye-laws, 1988
The Merchant Shipping (Mechanically Propelled Pleasure Craft) (Safety)Regulations, 2001
Lough Erne (Navigation) Bye-laws (Northern Ireland), 1978
Lough Erne (Navigation) (Amendment)
Bye-laws (Northern Ireland), 1968
Download copies of the Bye-laws in the Republic of Ireland
Download copy of the Bye-laws on the Erne System