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MARINE NOTICE No.34 of 2020 Access to Navigations and availability of services – Updated 08 May 2020

MARINE NOTICE No.34 of 2020
Shannon Navigation, Shannon-Erne Waterway, Royal Canal, Grand Canal, Barrow
Line and Navigation
Covid-19 measures

Access to Navigations and availability of services – Updated 08 May 2020

Waterways Ireland wishes to advise all Masters of vessels and water users of
the Shannon Navigation, Shannon-Erne Waterway, Royal Canal, Grand Canal,
Barrow Line and Navigation that the following access to navigations and
availability of services is in effect until further notice:

Executive Summary:

1. Stay safe and stay at home in order to protect our health services and
save lives.

2. It is now possible to go up to 5 kilometres from your home (ROI only) for
essential travel or for the purposes of brief exercise, provided you
continue to observe social distancing at all times.

3. Navigations are 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 are closed.

5. The Winter Mooring period on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon Erne
Waterway has been extended until 31 May  2020. There will be no additional
cost for this extension.

6. Waterways Ireland are currently planning the roadmap to the re-opening of
our navigations and any decisions on service provision will be communicated
via the issuance of Marine Notices, through our Waterways Ireland Social
Media channels and website. We anticipate the roadmap will be completed and
communicated to all stakeholders, including our users, within the next 10
days.

Following the recent Government announcements in the Republic of Ireland, in
relation to the Roadmap to Re-Open Society and Business
(https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/e5e599-government-publishes-roadmap-to-
ease-covid-19-restrictions-and-reope/), 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 in observing the regulations and
restrictions imposed on and along our waterways.  Your observance of such
regulations is having a positive impact on the spread of the virus,
releasing pressure on our health services, which are now, more than ever,
required to protect those who are most in need.  We ask you to continue to
keep up the good work.

Our message to all users of our waterways continues to be PLEASE STAY AT
HOME.

Roadmap for reopening the navigations

Waterways Ireland are currently planning the roadmap to the re-opening of
our navigations and the phased return of our workforce. Our roadmap will
involve engaging with various stakeholders, such as user groups and other
state agencies. We recognise the situation is constantly changing and we ask
for your patience during this time. Any updates to the situation will be
communicated via the issuance of Marine Notices, through our Waterways
Ireland Social Media channels and website. We anticipate the roadmap will be
completed and communicated to all stakeholders, including our users, within
the next 10 days.

5km rule (ROI only)
From Tuesday, 5th May 2020, it is possible to travel up to 5 kilometers from
your home for the purposes of essential travel or for brief exercise,
provided you continue to observe social distancing at all times.

Navigational Use
We are aware that this is normally a time when our boating community look
forward to spending time on the water, meeting friends and planning
excursions for the year ahead.  During the COVID-19 crisis such interactions
will not be possible. Our navigations have been effectively closed since
30th March 2020 in order to comply with Government guidelines.  Operational
staff, Water Patrollers and Lock-Keepers are not available to undertake lock
operations on any of our navigable waterways.  We are continuing to
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:

• Navigations are open within 5km of your home (ROI only).
• All Waterways Ireland service blocks are closed.
• Travel in excess of 5km (ROI only) from your home to check on vessels
moored on the navigation is prohibited until further notice.
• Winter mooring facilities have been further extended until 31st May 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.
• Electricity and water services have been reconnected following completion
of assessments of health and safety issues in the aftermath of the recent
flooding.
• 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.

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 request 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;
• Don’t meet up with other groups;
• Stay in your family household group;
• Stay local to your home (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;
• Observe all health etiquettes when on the towpaths.

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 mailto: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 –
http://www.learning.waterwaysireland.org/.

Continual Updates:
Continual updates are provided by both the HSE in Ireland and the Public
Health Agency in Northern Ireland on the COVID-19 virus.  If you would like
to access the latest information about the virus, you are advised to refer
to the HSE coronavirus page (Ireland) or the PHA website
http://www.publichealth.hscni.net/. (Northern Ireland).

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

Waterways Ireland thanks all vessel owners and operators for their
co-operation in relation to this matter. 

Paddy Harkin
Cdr (Rtd)
Inspector of Navigation,
Waterways Ireland,
The Docks,
Athlone,
Co Westmeath
00 353 87 9852324