Waterways Ireland have issued a notice to navigaters advising that as a result of the extended dry period of unseasonal weather, water levels in the navigations are presently lower than normal for this time of year.
An additional Marine Notice has also been issued for the closure of the 34th and 35th levels of the Royal Canal due to repairs and the summit level due to low water levels.
As the boating season is about to get underway masters and users are advised of the implications of continuing dry weather on water levels. If water levels fall below normal summer levels, masters should be aware that their vessels may be at risk of grounding, particularly deep drafted vessels.
Where possible masters should navigate on or near the centreline of the channel and also avoid short cutting in dog-legged channels and navigating too close to navigation markers.
Proceeding at a slow speed will also reduce “squat” effect, where the vessel tends to sit lower in the water as a consequence of higher speed.
Low water levels will also impact on slipways with reduced slipway length available under the water surface and the possibility of launching trailers dropping off the end of the concrete apron onto the river /lake bed and causing damage to trailer, outboard motor or boat. More slipway surface will also be susceptible to weed growth requiring care while engaged in launching boats.
In the interests of reducing potential water loss, users passing through locks are requested to maximise on the number of vessels in a lock. Please be patient and wait for other boaters to share the lock with you rather than using locks for sole passages and make sure lock cycles are used for vessels travelling each way. Each lock cycle should take boats both up and down stream. Shut all sluice gates and paddles when leaving a lock.
Navigaters are reminded that very dry riverbanks are more susceptible to erosion from vessel wash and to ensure you adhere to the speed limits and maintain a reduced wash. Users are also requested not to leave taps running at watering points or service blocks in the interest of water conservation.