Covid 19 – WI access to Navigations and services – Oct 21

MARINE NOTICE No 95 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 – Wed 2359hrs on 21 Oct 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 force until further notice:

Executive Summary:

  1. Stay safe and stay at home in order to protect our health services and save lives.
  2. Travel is permitted up to 5 kilometres from your home (ROI only) for essential travel and 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 will be closed from 2359hrs on 21 Oct 2020.
  5. All Locks and bridges will be closed from 2359hrs on 21 Oct 2020.
  6. The 5 day mooring rule has been suspended on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon Erne Waterways until 31 Oct 2020. The Winter Mooring period commences on 01 November 2020.

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.

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 except members of one other household;
  • 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 or by phone  We also have interesting articles and educational materials accessible online through our Learning Zone for use by you and your families –

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 (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. 

P Harkin

Inspector of Navigation

21 October 2020

“Waterways Ireland, managing and promoting the inland waterways for the benefit of all…”