Introduction Departure Base Your Boat Good Boating Tips Cruising Advice Waterways Structures Sharing the Waterways 1 2 4 8 10 20 28
Thank you for booking your holiday on the Shannon and Erne - now it’s time to plan ahead. You will find all sorts of interesting information in this book, from helpful hints on what to pack through to advice on safety and boat handling. If you have any specific enquiries about your holiday, please contact your boat-hire company directly.
Preparing your Holiday
What you should bring
The weather in Ireland can be changeable, so the safest option is to bring a variety of summer clothing, warm jumpers and rainproof gear with you. Non-slip footwear is a must. For evening wear, smart casual is fine. Bring sunglasses and suncream, a couple of good books and a pack of cards. And don't forget your mobile phone and a 12V charger.
To avoid unnecessary delays, please let us know your estimated arrival time. Report to the Reception Building where a member of staff will check you in and explain the procedure for your instruction and handover.
Security deposit and damage waiver
You will have to leave a security deposit against the boat while on hire. This covers damage, late return etc. The amount depends on the size and value of the boat. A valid credit card is required for the deposit. Alternatively, you can pay a damage waiver to reduce the liability.
What you can order in advance Fishing Dinghy and outboard motor
Not just for the fisherman, a dinghy will allow you to explore little rivers and inlets.
Groceries can be pre-ordered and delivered to your boat, ready for when you arrive. Please contact your boat-hire company for details.
You pay for diesel used during your holiday. Some companies supply the boat with a full tank, and you pay for the fuel used on your return. Other companies make a charge based on the number of hours the engine has run.
Bicycles are a great extra and allow you to visit sites of interest which are slightly further away from the river - the kids love them too! They can be rented for the duration of your holiday and stowed safely on deck. Contact your boathire company for details.
You will receive full instruction at the marina from one of our trained staff. There may be a classroom session, and there will definitely be an on-board session where you will have the opportunity to drive the boat yourself until you are happy to take control.
Limited availability but popular with the children.
There is ample free parking at the marina, but it is not undercover. Cars are left at owners' risk.
At the end of the cruise
Return to the base
Your boat must be returned to the appropriate marina at the time requested. Failure to do so will result in losing some or all of your security deposit. On your return, you will be directed to a berth and advised on refuelling etc.
For those of you on one-way hires, we can arrange a taxi transfer back to your car at extra cost, but please note we are not insured to drive your car.
If you are unable to return the boat to the marina, please contact us as soon as possible as we may need the boat for the next customer. Failure to return to the base will result in loss of your security deposit.
All boat-hire companies operate a technical assistance service and cooperate with each other to provide you with a quick and helpful service in case of breakdown or technical fault. You will be given a phone number to call in case of a technical fault.
As the boats are self-catering accommodation, you are expected to leave the boat clean and ready for the next occupants. All cleaning materials are provided. You will be charged if the boat requires extra cleaning.
All companies operate and cooperate in case of emergencies. You will be given a phone number to call in case of emergency. However, we would remind you that you are not allowed to cruise during the hours of darkness and emergency cover may not be possible in such circumstances. The most common emergency is running aground which can be easily avoided by reading the chart at all times.
What you will find aboard
Inventory All boats come well-equipped for living aboard with a full galley (hob, oven, sink and storage), heads (toilet, sink, shower), sleeping cabins and a saloon sitting area. Storage Storage on a boat is limited and you should ensure that you do not bring too much with you. Suitcases can be stored at the marina. The shower The water is all pumped by an onboard pressurised water system and the showers are excellent - but note the limited supply of water, both hot and cold. Toilets Toilets are generaly manual operation you pump water in and then pump waste out. It is absolutely vital that only toilet waste goes into the toilet. There are substantial extra charges for unblocking toilets. Waste water Toilet waste water is stored onboard in special holding tanks which will need to be emptied at least once during the week. There are numerous pump-out stations along the river - just ask for details. The bilge pump All boats have automatic and manual bilge pumps. The automatic pump will keep the boat dry and the manual pump is strictly for use in the unlikely event of an accident.
Cooking utensils are basic but include three different sized pots, a frying pan, casserole dish, chopping board, colander, kettle, teapot and coffee cafetiere. Water Water is a precious commodity on board. All your water has to be carried on the boat and we recommend that you refill with water at every available opportunity. You have a hose supplied for doing this. Hot water The hot water is heated by the engine, so you must run the engine to get hot water but be careful as the water gets very, very hot. The hot water tank is quite small, so you will need to be quick in the shower.
Electricity All boats run on a 12-volt battery system for lighting, water pumps, fridge etc.. It may be possible to rent a 240V inverter to run laptop chargers and other small current devices, but please note that highcurrent devices such as hairdryers will probably not work. Fuel All boats use diesel fuel to run the engine which is safe and economical. Most boats also use diesel-powered heating systems which are quiet and economical. You pay for all diesel used. Gas The cooker (and on some boats, the heating) is powered by bottle gas. One full bottle is included in your hire charge.
Life jackets Lifejackets are provided for every member of crew and you must ensure that you have a jacket which fits well (particularly children) and that you know where it is. Note that it is a legal requirement to wear a lifejacket in the dinghy at all times and for children to wear a lifejacket on the cruiser deck at all times.
Fire extinguishers All boats are fitted with the appropriate number of fire extinguishers which can be easily reached in case of an emergency. Fire blankets There is a fire blanket convenient to the galley.
What you will find aboard
The controls Boat controls are very simple - left and right with the steering wheel, forwards and backwards with the throttle! But remember that there are no brakes - you have to put the engine into reverse to stop the boat. To start the engine Exactly the same as a car - turn the key to start. It is a funny quirk of boats that the engine will continue to run even if the ignition is turned off. However, you will not be charging the battery and you will cause damage to the electrical systems. To stop the engine On most boats you pull a lever or push a button - then turn off the ignition. The alarm If you hear an engine alarm, it could be a number of things, but most likely the engine is overheating because of a lack of cooling water. Stop the engine immediately (see above) and contact your hire boat company. They will advise the appropriate course of action or come to assist.
The propeller The propeller is under the boat and to be avoided at all times. If you feel vibration in the boat, it is possible that the propeller has been damaged. Contact your hire boat company. The bow thruster Larger boats are fitted with bow thrusters which allow you to move the front of the boat sideways (makes parking easy). Very large boats also have stern thrusters allowing you to move the stern sideways (and in some circumstances, the whole boat sideways).
Breakdowns and remedies
Breakdowns are fortunately rare and most can be repaired by one of our mobile mechanics who can be with you quickly. You will be given breakdown and emergency telephone numbers when you check in. Many call-outs are due to flat batteries which can be avoided by regularly running the engine.
Remember that you are on holiday and there is no rush. If everybody helps with locks and moorings, everything will go smoothly and you will feel like a master.
Good Boating Tips
During your boating trip it is important to have consideration for the quality of our lakelands and inland waterways for future enjoyment by all who use them and the wildlife which depends on them. You can ensure that your holiday does not impact on the natural environment or built heritage of Ireland's waterways by following these simple and practical Good Boating Tips.
Do not throw anything overboard. Secure any loose items on board. Segregate your waste properly on board and use shore based recycling facilities where provided. Leave all mooring places, harbours, banks etc in a clean condition. Respect speed limits where they apply. If you see boatwash hitting the banks please slow down so as to avoid bank erosion, noise disturbance to wildlife and disruption to other boat users. All boats are equipped with holding tanks for sewage. Tanks should only be emptied at pump-out stations. It should be noted that it is illegal to dispose of sewage overboard. Never moor alongside pump out stations for longer than required to empty the holding tank. Take care when re-fuelling to avoid oil spillages. Fill tanks slowly to prevent overflows from the air vent.
In the event of a major oil spillage on board, the relevant Local Authority should be contacted immediately. Never pump oily bilge water into the waterways. Only use the eco-friendly (phosphate) free cleaning products. Try to limit the amount of grey water produced on board. Where possible plan your trip to avail of shore based facilities as much as possible. We have a rich and diverse range of wildlife associated with our lakes and waterways. Please respect our native wildlife and nesting birds at all times. They are after all what makes your trip so unique. Before fishing in any lakes or waterways it is important to familiarise yourself with the necessary licences and bye-laws which may apply. In the Republic of Ireland information can be obtained on this from the Central Fisheries Board and Regional Fisheries Boards (see www.cfb.ie). In Northern Ireland please check with the Inland Fisheries (see www.dcalni.gov.uk/index/inland_fisheries.htm).
Thank you for taking the time to read these tips. Please enjoy a clean boating experience.
We have a rich and diverse range of wildlife associated with our lakes and waterways. Please respect our native wildlife and nesting birds at all times. They are after all what makes your trip so unique.
In the next few pages we will give you some hints on boat handling and, in particular, on how to negotiate a lock. Most of these hints will be repeated when you do your lesson at the beginning of your cruise. Do not hesitate to ask questions. A good boater is one who appreciates the limits of his/her knowledge and is always keen to learn. If you have never handled a boat before, you will be tempted to compare it with your car. There are some similarities but the differences are very important. Designate a captain - there must be one person in charge of the boat at all times.
To start with, a boat is poised on a liquid element, pushed by the current and the wind. Be aware of the effect they will have on you before setting out. A boat has no brakes so, to slow down or stop, you simply reverse the motor. It will take about four times its length to stop so prepare your manoeuvres well in advance. A boat is much heavier than a car (most of our boats weigh at least 7 tons), so it can damage at a much slower speed. Take your time and carry out all manoeuvres slowly and deliberately. If you have the chance, watch a barge captain handling his barge. He is never in a hurry. When a car changes direction, the back wheels follow the front ones. A boat, on the other hand, pivots on a point situated about one third back from the bow. When manoeuvring forward, always think of your stern. And finally, a car requires one driver who normally needs no help from his passengers. A boat requires a captain and a crew. Before setting out, the captain should allocate tasks to everyone on board. And keep in mind that the captain is in sole charge of his vessel and his word is final.
A good boater is one who appreciates the limits of his/her knowledge and is always keen to learn.
Plan your day's cruising Use your navigation guide to plan your day's cruising. The kilometre points will enable you to calculate the distances and a table will give you cruising times between the main ports. Ensure all crew are aware of your day's plan and emergency contact details. Allow for a maximum of 4 to 5 hours cruising each day, you will find that this is quite sufficient. Starting the motor Before leaving your mooring, proceed as follows:
Check that the throttle lever is in neutral and that the propeller is not engaged; If your boat has dual steering positions, ensure that the one you want to use is the one selected; Start the engine; Make sure that all the gauges on the dashboard function normally and that the cooling water is flowing properly from the rear exhaust; Check that everyone is safely on board; Allocate a position on the deck to each crew member; Ask your crew to cast off, bring the lines back and store them safely on board. For boats equipped with a sliding roof, make sure that the roof is latched either in the open or the closed position.
Leaving the quay Firstly observe the wind and current. See if the strongest of the two comes from the front or the rear of the boat. If the boat is moored facing the wind or the current, cast off the bow line first, then push the bow towards the middle of the river. Engage forward gear. If the wind or current are pushing against stern of the boat, the manoeuvre is slightly more delicate. Cast off the stern first then push the stern away from the bank to free it. Move to the middle of the river in reverse gear before changing to forward gear. If the boat is held against the quay because of very strong wind, let go the stern line and engage forward gear. Whilst manoeuvring, the bow remains moored, but ready to be cast off. The helmsman turns the wheel sharply towards the quay while accelerating a little. When the stern has moved out from the quay, one of the crew members casts off the bow line and the helmsman brings the boat to the middle of the river in reverse gear. The navigable channel On a river and sometimes on a canal, the navigable channel is indicated by coloured buoys. The rule is simple: a boat going upstream should leave the red buoys on its left and the green buoys on its right. A boat going downstream should leave the green buoys on its left and the red buoys on its right. On the northern half of the Shannon-Erne Waterway and the Erne System, the navigable channel is marked by red and white marker posts. Please keep to the white side of the markers.
Two boats passing Normally boats must pass port to port but a boat traveling downstream always has priority over a boat traveling upstream. At bridges and in areas of restricted water, the same rule applies i.e. the boat traveling downstream has priority. When the waterway is wide enough, boats going downstream stay in the middle and boats going upstream move to the left or the right. Overtaking You can overtake a boat in front of you as long as the manoeuvre presents no danger and the channel width is greater than 13m. It is the responsibility of the boat overtaking to keep well clear of the other boat. Sound Signals If you intend to alter course to starboard sound 1 short blast If you intend to alter course to port, sound 2 short blasts If you intend to go astern sound 3 short blasts.