The new normal as we mark the beginning of the boating season.

Traditionally the month of March marks the beginning of the boating season. While many of us in reality enjoy winter boating with modern heating systems now available for boats. Nonetheless, March resonates with us in the boating world as we begin to plan for the season ahead. We begin to imagine all the wonderful cruises in company, rallies, glorious days spent exploring our waterways, and convivial nights spent in the company of good friends enjoying moonlit outdoor chats and BBQs.

“March to me is about preseason prep,” said Brian Fitzgerald, IWAI Carrick, “getting the boat out of hibernation mode, cleaning, and polishing and tackling all those jobs I had identified from the end of last season. These jobs may seem very boring, but as I start my preparations, I have lots of plans and ideas and possibilities for the upcoming season” he added.

Maeve and I were just talking about this only the other day”, said Fiona Hoey, IWAI Athlone “as just about now we would be plotting our Easter break and really looking forward to getting Crannagh back into the water and making her spic and span for the new season and looking forward to spending lots of time with all the friends we have made through boating.”

Covid 19 has had a huge impact on all our lives and has kept us all from our favourite activities cruising, swimming, sailing, spending time outdoors, and catching up with all our waterborne friends who we won’t have seen for a season.

“At this time of year, if we were not living through a pandemic I would be spending lots of time pottering on the boat”, said Brigitte Benson IWAI Athlone, “working away on her, swapping ideas with other boaters in the harbour, getting lots of help and suggestions from people around and getting ‘Plan B’ ready for the season. I miss meeting up with friends, planning our water adventures what places we might explore, or just relaxing, recharging in total relaxation on the waterways.”

Colman Byrne, IWAI Dublin said “Normally, I take this St Patrick’s week off, and spend the week, putting her back into the water, de-winterising the engine, putting the bedding and all the stuff we took off the boat at the end of last season back on the boat and cleaning the green off! This year I am off for the week but instead am sitting at home, waiting for the lockdown to end!”

Once level 5 restrictions are lifted, I know many of the members of the IWAI will be ecstatic to once again feel the fresh air on our skin, and the water spray of heading out for a long-awaited adventure on the open waters.

We are lucky we have a lot to look forward to, making that first run of the season in our pride and joy.

Sunset on the inland waterways
boating on the inland waterways