MARINE NOTICE, No.96 of 2014
Erne System – Upper Lough Erne
Waterways Ireland wishes to advise all Masters and users of the Erne System that recent surveys have detected aquatic weed in significant quantities in Upper Lough Erne. Aquatic weed has the potential to impact on the movement of a range of recreational craft. There is also a risk of vessels being disabled due to fouling of propellers and by weed being drawn into the engine intake, causing it to overheat and stop.
Waterways Ireland intends to harvest weed in accordance with its aquatic weed management strategy developed in consultation with Environment Agency. The aim is to ensure that the main navigation route from the Shannon – Erne Waterway to Enniskillen remains passable and that access to and from all Waterways Ireland jetties is maintained where possible.
In order to minimise the risk to their vessel from aquatic weed Masters are hereby advised to:
- stay within the marked navigation channels
- be aware that weed may be encountered in any location where there is a water depth of around 1.8 metres or less
- navigate with caution
- keep a sharp look-out and
- proceed at slow speed where the hazard of weed exists.
Masters should take account of any temporary aids to navigation placed by Waterways Ireland. Hazard warning signs highlighting the presence of weed or temporary navigation markers (red/white square) will indicate channels from which weed has been cleared; always pass on the white side.
Prior to departure on a journey Masters of craft should clean intake filters and check propellers and engine cooling.
In the event that a vessel fouls its propeller due to weed, stop the vessel and go astern (reverse) on the engine for a few seconds to see if the propeller clears itself. If, after two or three attempts, this proves unsuccessful Masters are advised to drop anchor to attend to the problem if possible. If unsuccessful call their marina operator or hire base for assistance. Under no circumstances should someone enter the water to attend to a propeller or engine intake fouled by weed .
Masters should be aware of the cumulative effect on their prop and engine of collecting small amounts of weed over a journey and should check their prop periodically.
Masters should allow extra time to make a passage under these environmental conditions
Waterways Ireland thanks its customers for their co-operation in this matter.
For further information please contact the Lough Erne Warden on:
+44 (0)28 6632 2836
C.Lawn, Inspector of Navigation, 24 Jul 2014