General information for visitors

Trailing a boat in Ireland

See Trailing a Boat in Ireland
For a summary of the regulatory status of Towing trailers in Ireland.
Should you be involved in an accident, (God forbid) the other party may research your towing rig to find fault. In this case you must be compliant at least with the conditions set out in the owners' manual for the car. Regulations in Ireland are consistent with UK and EU requiring a "CE" licence to tow if the maximum allowable weight of the two veicles combined is 3.5 tonnes

Note in Ireland we drive on the left. Continental drivers remember that you are more likely to make a mistake as to which side of the road you should be on, after a few days, rather than on your first day here.

Getting here

Visitors will find a big improvement in Irish roads, almost all of the the Belfast to Cork route is motorway, and similar improvements between Dublin and Galway. For anyone coming from Rosslare to Cork, note that Waterford is bypassed by motorway and that the bypass around New Ross opens June 2019. There are tolls and they do not accept sterling. Tolls for the M50 must be paid on line or in certain filling stations or groceries.
There is now no ferry company operating between Swansea and Cork.

Importation of boats

Persons bringing boats into Ireland should have registration documentation, or some proof of ownership. If the Customs officials have any concerns at all about you, they will want to know it is a temporary importation so a copy of the rally application form or other correspondence is recommended as evidence. Don't mention the "B" word.

Nasty little Hitchhikers - Exotic species

The spread of Zebra mussels is a threat to the isolated freshwater lakes in Ireland. The Shannon waterway is infested, and Zebra mussels have been found in all connected canals and lakes. If you are intending to launch your trailer-sailer in fresh water please consult the local fisheries board, and in any event, thoroughly clean your boat including fishing tackle bilgewater, cooling systems and keel slots, before and after your visit. Note the Zebra Mussel are not the only nuisance species which can be spread by visiting boats.


Personal Buoyancy and common sense

It is mandatory under Irish Law to have a personal buoyancy aid for each person on board, and it is illegal to participate in towing while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. It is worth bearing the Merchant Shipping (pleasure craft) (lifejackets and operation) (safety) Regulations 2004 and the Maritime Safety Act of 2005 in mind. The Maritime Safety Act requires users of the water to behave properly in a wide range of aspects and enables the waterways and harbour authorities and the Coast guard to enforce the regulations, including confiscating the boat. Despite this legislation, there are plenty of Irish and visitors having fun on the water, and still a few idiots about.

Permits, Licences and Regulation

No permits are needed at present to operate a boat in Ireland other than on Waterways Ireland rivers and canals. If using VHF you are required to possess a station licence and an operators' licence from your home country.

Weather Forecasts

Forecasts are issued at 01:03, and every 3 hours thereafter. A call is given on CH 16 and the forecast is issued on Irish Coastguard working channels.

The Irish weather service sea area map is here . It is worth printing this map for reference when receiving a forecast. It is also worth touring the Met Eireann site.

You can download forecasts including weather maps to your PDA or GPRS phone from
we stronglt recommend the Met Eireann App in Apple or Android