About Boats

Please read the article on this site which specifically addresses this question and variations of it
Created: 2006-04-02 – Last Updated: 2006-04-02
To register a boat on the Shannon, contact the Waterways Ireland Inspector of Navigation at The Docks, Athlone. Ph: +353(0)90 6494232. To register a boat on the Erne, contact the Warden at Portora Ph: +44(0)28 6632 2836 There is no charge for registration, but once your vessel has been assigned a registration number, you must display the registration sticker visibly on your craft. The inspector/warden will issue you with an application, which you must complete and return to him. He will then issue you with the registration number for your boat. You can also download the application forms from the Waterways Ireland website.

Note: if you have purchased a craft that has already been registered, be sure to contact the Inspector to update his records with your new owner information
Created: 2006-03-29 – Last Updated: 2006-03-29

We have a comprehensive list detailing the companies that rent boats on the Irish Inland Waterways in our Boat Rentals section. Please look through this section and contact the companies directly for further information about their boats for hire.
Created: 2006-03-28 – Last Updated: 2006-03-28
Have a look at our page entitled “Bringing your narrowboat to Ireland ” – which is obviously applicable to other boats too! This addresses dimensions, boat transportation, equipping a boat and lots of other advice.

Have a look at our page “Putting a boat on the water “. This address registration requirements on the different navigations.

In addition, there are slipways in private marinas and boatyards, but you would need their managers’ permission to use them.

Just in case: it is likely that you will need to register your boat, if it has an engine over 15hp. You must also comply with the Shannon Navigation bye-laws. There is no charge for registration. Contact The Inspector of Navigation, The Docks, Athlone, Co Westmeath. Tel +353(0)9064 94232. Alternatively, download the appropriate registration form from Waterways Ireland www.waterwaysireland.org. There is a charge for passing through locks and fixed bridges.

A:How long have you got …?

I’m assuming, from what you say, that you know the general rules about putting a boat on the Irish inland waterways, but if not there’s an overview here :

Note, though, that Waterways Ireland will be revising its bye laws, perhaps producing a single set of rules for all waterways, some time soon, so keep an eye on our website or on waterwaysireland.org.

As you probably know, the big problem with getting a boat is finding somewhere to park or moor it. Marina spaces can be scarce on the Shannon, Erne and Shannon-Erne Waterway, although new marinas are being developed, while (except for a small space at Lowtown) there is no marina on the Grand, Royal or Barrow.
On long-term living aboard, : but note that this does not refer to what UK boaters call “continuous cruising”, where you move around the waterways for several months at a time: there are no special regulations about that, just the ordinary restrictions on how long you can spend at a public harbour.

People’s definition of “barge” varies, and financially it covers everything from an ancient narrowboat on the verge of failing its (UK) boat Safety Cert to a new-build “Dutch barge” or a retired workingbarge. Although there are plenty of experienced barge-owners in Ireland, there is little published material, so if you want information on sourcing or driving barges I suggest that you look at the Barge Association’s website . Its online bookshop
includes a Barge Buyers Handbook, a book on fitting out a narrowboat (much applicable to barges) and a Guide to Motor Barge Handling. There should be enough there to get you started.

About IWAI and Website

We do not sell holidays, we do not document the holidays available on the waterways, and we don’t endorse any holiday packages offered by travel companies for the Irish waterways.
Yes, if your website is directly relevant to the Irish inland waterways and and offers content of interest to our visitors, we will be happy to offer you a link.
Yes – please review the categories of information required in the boat hire pages and then send us a message with all of the relevant information as shown for the existing listings.
NO. All of the materials presented on this website are protected by copyright law, and are owned variously by the Association, and its many contributors. Under no circumstances may you copy any materials from this site without the copyright owner’s express permission. If you feel that you have a remarkably philanthropic reason for requesting to use the materials, then please do contact us using the form below.

About Ireland’s Waterways

IWAI is a voluntary body of waterways enthusiasts. The body with responsibility for most of the navigable waterways in Ireland is Waterways Ireland. Please contact them in relation to matters about the waterways.

A good place to start is on our specific waterways-related pages.  We’ve dedicated pages for the:

  • Lower Bann & Lough Neagh;
  • The Erne System
  • Shannon-Erne Waterway;
  • The Shannon Navigation;
  • Royal Canal;
  • Grand Canal;
  • The Barrow;
  • Other navigations.

This website is absolutely packed with information about the history, heritage, environment, flora, fauna, maps, charts, photographs and news items about the Irish waterways. Please dig really deeply into the site – we’re pretty sure that what you want to know is in here somewhere.

If you really can’t find the subject you’re looking for, then your best bet for finding the answer is on our public waterways discussion forum. This forum is an active discussion group full of people who know the waterways better than the backs of their own hands. If you post a message to this group describing what it is you are trying to find out, you will probably receive a number of well informed responses. You may even instigate a veritable flood of information. There are no guarantees though.

Some waterways don’t have towpaths: the Shannon, the Erne, Lough Neagh, the Corrib, the Slaney, the Shannon-Erne Waterway, the Lower Bann (I think).

Some abandoned waterways have towpaths with cycle ways: the Newry Canal.

The three main waterways in the republic have towpaths: the Royal Canal, the Grand Canal (including branches) and the Barrow Navigation. These three waterways are controlled by Waterways Ireland, the navigation authority, and cycling on towpaths is contrary to their bye laws. That said, many people do cycle on them, although that fact would be no defence if you were to cause an accident or injure someone
If you decide to cycle on the towpaths, it would be a good idea to give precedence to walkers, especially children: many stretches of towpath are popular promenades.

The quality of surfaces varies from roadway to rough or boggy grass; mountain-bike rather than racer territory.

The best source of information is John Dunne’s book “Towpath Tours: A Guide
to Cycling Ireland’s Waterways” ISBN 1-903464-75-7 , published by Collins
Press 384pp.