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Boat Registration and Permits

Boat Registration and Permits

Two craft management systems are in operation on the waterways managed by Waterways Ireland

1. The Craft Registration System which operates on the Shannon Navigation, Shannon-Erne Waterway and Erne System

2. The Permit System which operates on the Grand Canal, Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation. ​

*A Code of Practice is in place on the Lower Bann. ​

1. Craft Registration: (Shannon Navigation, Shannon-Erne Waterway & Erne System) 

Registration by the current owner is a legal requirement.  It requires the boat owner to complete an on-line registration. The boat’s registration number must be displayed and users must comply with the navigation bye-laws.  If the boat is sold Waterways Ireland must be informed.  Boats should be registered with the Navigation in which the vessel is mainly used and berthed (either Lough Erne or Shannon).  Valid registrations will permit temporary visits to other waterways (Shannon Navigation & Lough Erne Navigation only).  However, boats previously registered on the Shannon but currently mainly in use and berthed on Lough Erne and vice versa must be re-registered to the home berth navigation.  Registered Shannon or Lough Erne boats wishing to enter waterways managed under the Permit system are additionally required to apply for the appropriate Visitors permit in advance of travel. (See Permit System below)

- Shannon / Erne Navigation falls under Shannon Navigation control.

- Boats on the Shannon Navigation with engines 15bhp or above have a legal requirement to register with Waterways Ireland.

- Boats on Lough Erne Navigation with engine more than 10bhp have a legal requiremsnt to register with Waterways Ireland.

- Registration is free and can be managed online here: REGISTER YOUR CRAFT HERE

- Any changes to ownership must be notified to Waterways Ireland immediately.

- If you have a query about registration on the Shannon / Shannon-Erne please telephone +353 (0)90 6494232 or on the Erne please telephone +44 (0)28 6634 6230​​.​

2. Permit System: (Grand Canal, Royal Canal & Barrow Navigation)

Permits are essential on the Grand Canal. Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation. The permit requires the boat owner to: 

  • complete the online application and pay the appropriate fee

  • clearly display the permit provided 

  • obey the bye-laws.

There are four types of permits in place all with different requirements which enable the boater to suit their own style of boating while remaining within the Bye-laws. ​

A. Combined Mooring and Passage Permit (CMP): All vessels cruising on the canals for more than 30 days within 12 months require a Combined Mooring and Passage Permit (CMP). A CMP allows a vessel to pass through locks and moor at any location that is not a designated extended mooring location or Lock waiting Jetty) along the canal for up to 5 days. A CMP costs €126 per annum and can be applied for through our website. The permit must be clearly displayed on the vessel at all times. To apply for a Combined Mooring & Passage Permit, please click here. 

B. Non - Residential Extended Mooring Permit (NR-EMP): Owners wishing to moor their vessels in one location for more than 5 days require a Non-residential Extended Mooring Permit (NR-EMP). Vessels displaying a NR-EMP cannot be used as a “principle private residence” and masters are only allowed a total of 90 overnight stays in one year – which may be monitored by WI authorised officers. A NR-EMP enables a vessel to remain in a Waterways Ireland designated mooring location and costs €278 per annum. A Non-Residential Extended Mooring Permit supersedes and includes a CMP and can be applied for online. The permit must be clearly displayed on the vessel at all times. To apply for a Non - Residential Extended Mooring Permit, please click here

C. Residential Extended Mooring Permit: Waterways Ireland has built 20 houseboat serviced mooring locations in Grand Canal Dock and 8 houseboat services mooring locations in Shannon Harbour, Co. Offaly.  All of these houseboat serviced mooring locations are currently occupied. These are the only locations in which Residential Extended Mooring Permits are issued, currently there are none available

D. Visitor Permit: Boats entering the Canal System and staying under 31 days can apply on en​try for a FREE permit. This permit can only be used once every calendar year. Boats intending to stay more than the 31 days must apply in advance for the Combined Mooring and Passage Permit, and if intending to stay in one location longer than five days you will need an Extended Mooring Permit​ as above.​​ 


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