Tag Archives: marina

The cost of parking a boat

On the east side of Dublin

Poolbeg: €280 per metre for a year plus membership; €20 a night for visitors.

Dun Laoghaire: €435 per metre with facilities for a year, €290 per metre without; €3.60 per metre per night for visitors.

Howth: €81 per metre per month; daily rate €3,20 per metre, minimum daily charge €20.

On the west side of Dublin

Grand or Royal Canal: current maximum €278 per year, irrespective of boat length, less than Dun Laoghaire charges per metre (for a berth with no facilities).

Admittedly you can go to more places from Dun Laoghaire (like, er, Holyhead), but on the other hand you can go boating from west Dublin in all but the most extreme conditions and there are more pubs along the way.

Marina occupancy

Practical Boat Owner, a magazine, reports [in its June 2013 issue, published in April] that the British Marine Federation surveyed its members in February and March 2013 to ask about gross capacity and actual occupancy of their marinas in January 2013. The BMF press release is here.

It got 145 valid responses, a 56% response rate; it reckons that that means 31% of all UK marinas and 38% of all UK marina berths.

The total capacity of the marinas was 29118 and the occupancy 23462, which the BMF says is an 80.5% occupancy rate and a 19.5% vacancy rate.

Of those marinas, 69 [or perhaps 68] were tidal or coastal, with a total capacity of 17604 berths and the occupancy 14227 berths: an 80.8% occupancy rate and a 19.2% vacancy rate.

There were 53 responses from marinas on C&RT waterways; they had 7710 berths, 6122 of them occupied: 79.4% occupancy and 20.6% vacancy.

There were 23 responses from marinas on the waters of other navigation authorities, including the Environment Agency, the Broads Authority and some national authorities responsible for lakes. They had 3804 berths, 3113 occupied: 81.8% occupancy and 18.2% vacancy.

I don’t know what difference it would have made if the survey had been conducted at some other time of year. Should we assume that British boaters all book marina berths for the full year?

I don’t know whether the Irish Marine Federation or its associate group, the Irish Marina Operators Association, has published anything similar. While the IMOA has members on coastal and estuarial waters, it doesn’t seem to have any on non-tidal waterways. It would be interesting to know the vacancy rate on inland marinas, although there are definitional problems (does a block of flats with some moorings constitute a marina?). Maybe the only way to find out is to get HarbourAir to take aerial photos on one of their flights.


Alas, no more!

I can find no additions to the list of Shannon-based holders of licences to sell marked fuel. Could it be that there is some delay in processing the applications of, for instance, some hire firms and marinas? As it stands, only three sellers are listed as being licensed, at Killinure, Lanesborough and Rooskey; the rest of the Shannon has no licensed traders.

The diesel monopoly

I wrote here about the Revenue Commissioners’ new Marked Fuel Trader’s Licence. In brief, anyone selling marked fuel oil [green diesel] has to pay €250 to get a Marked Fuel Trader’s Licence and must also make monthly returns to Revenue of all “oil movements”. I thought, but I wasn’t sure, that this applied to marinas and others selling fuel for private pleasure navigation; as far as I could see at the time, none of those selling fuel along the Irish inland waterways had registered.

I have two pieces of news about that.

First, the Revenue Commissioners have confirmed that the new scheme does apply to sales of marked fuel for private pleasure navigation: in other words, those selling green diesel for boats along the inland waterways should all be registered under the scheme.

Second, I am happy to say that there is now at least one registered seller: Ciaran Fallon of Rooskey Craft & Tackle at Rooskey Quay. (There may be others that I haven’t spotted; you can check the latest list of Licensed Marked Fuel Traders here.) For the moment, then, Rooskey Craft & Tackle seems to have a monopoly of the legal supply of marked fuel on the Irish inland waterways.

Finally, on a somewhat related matter, here is the form [PDF] for making mineral oil tax returns for 2012. The numbers of returns received so far have been 38 in 2009, 41 in 2010 and 22 in 2011.

What’s it oil about?

What with all those nasty chaps [PDF] doing whatever it is they do to diesel, thereby cheating the citizenry and polluting the countryside, it seems that the Revenue Commissioners, whom god bless and preserve, came up with a new scheme last year that might be made to look like a solution. (The real solution, of course, is to abolish green diesel, charge everyone full whack, and — if you really must, although personally I think they get too much subsidy as it is — give farmers back some money to shut them up … for a while.)

The new scheme is outlined here. As far as I can make out (but IANAL), anyone selling marked fuel oil (which I guess would include marinas selling it for private pleasure navigation, the category I’m interested in) has to pay €250 to get a Marked Fuel Trader’s Licence.

Actually, I may be simplifying it unduly: first they have to apply to be allowed to apply.

If this Application is approved the National Excise Licence Office will issue you with an Application Notice to apply for the Licence.

If the marina counts as a “forecourt retailer”, it also has to make a monthly electronic return of “oil movements”.

These requirements came into effect on 1 October 2012 and the Revenue website provides a 147-page PDF list of licence-holders as at 31 December 2012. I’ve had a quick look for a few Shannon marinas; I found none of them, although I confess I haven’t read the whole thing.

I haven’t been to any of the seminars (although I’ve looked at some of the PDFs available on that page) and I haven’t contacted the official sources of information (although I have emailed the Revenue press office). I have read the FAQ, though. There is no reference to boats or marinas or private pleasure navigation, so I assume that the scheme does apply to marinas. As far as I can see (again, IANAL), all traders in marked fuel must have licences, even if they sell only small quantities. However, for those selling under 2000 litres per customer per month, there is a simpler monthly return:

However, if you supply less than 2,000 litres per month per customer, you only need to notify Revenue of the number of customers you supplied during the month as well as the aggregate quantity of fuel supplied.

That would cover most marinas, I imagine, although the ROM1 procedure still has to be used.

The first return, in respect of oil movements during January 2013, must be submitted by 25 February 2013.

So does this apply to marinas? I’ve asked Revenue but I don’t expect to hear for a few days. If it does apply, what will the effect be? Is the increased cost (time to compile the application and meet any Revenue demands; €250; whatever the ROM1 system costs) likely to be significant? How are the marinas (and other waterways fuel retailers) responding?

Where are the boats?

Learned Readers will be aware that you can moor cheaply for the winter in a Waterways Ireland Shannon harbour; see Marine Notive 111/2012 about half way down this page.

Now, anyone paying commercial rates in a Shannon marina will tell you that WI’s charges represent extremely good value: cheaper even than a year’s canals permit.

But I have noted recently that there seem to be only four boats in Dromineer for the winter). Pottering about today, I found Portumna Castle Harbour deserted.

Portumna Castle Harbour December 2012

Portumna Castle Harbour December 2012

Terryglass had more boats, but most of them are on the county council’s jetty with only seven on the Waterways Ireland extension.

Terryglass December 2012 03_resize

Terryglass December 2012

There were only four boats on the west bank below the bridge in Portumne. There were a few more in Connaught Harbour, but all in all the numbers were lower than I had expected. And I don’t think they’re in Shannon Harbour, which seemed to have fewer boats than usual.

So have boat-owners found that their insurers won’t cover them if they are not in supervised marinas, or out of the water, for the winter? Are private marinas, especially those that can haul boats out of the water, more crowded than usual? Or has the number of boats decreased even more drastically than I had imagined?

I don’t know. Readers’ observations welcome.



Issalon kwahi *

Watery news from the Guardian.

That is, of course, the Nenagh Guardian, not that other provincial stalwart the Manchester Guardian.

Four items in the issue of 2 June 2012 caught my eye.

First, the members of the Nenagh Canoe Club have been cleaning up … the Nenagh River, a laudable endeavour.

Second, a community project in Ballina (Killaloe’s oppo) “will see a new jetty with a thirty-year lease built on the site of the old Lakeside Marina”. The paper says that …

[…] Jim Watkins, Eoin Little and Cllr Phyll Bugler of “The Friends of the Lake” have now initiated a project, which will be funded by Leader.

I have no idea what it’s for; I would welcome more information about the project and about the Friends of the Lake, whereof I know nothing.

Third, the Lough Derg Marketing Strategy Group (which god preserve), which is coordinated by the  Mid West Regional Authority (who knew?), is holding meetings about signposts. What would be really nice, though, would be if the MWRA took down the pic in its header showing adults and children in an open boat without lifejackets.

Finally, there’s a story about a proposed “fountain auditorium” planned for Birdhill [which was on the old N7, between Nenagh and Limerick, being chiefly famous for winning Tidy Towns competitions and being home to Matt the Threshers pub and eatery]. The “fountain auditorium” was, for reasons that are not entirely clear, to be a temporary operation, running until the end of 2016. It was to be located in a warehouse on the Shannonside Business Park (which is some miles from the Shannon).

The fountain auditorium was to have a pool 20m X 8m and “fountains capable of pumping water 9m into the air through more than 150 rotating nozzles”. The article says that

The proposed development is to serve as a tourist attraction centring on a fountain auditorium, in which audiences would be treated to pre-recorded shows marrying features of water, sound and synchronised lighting. The shows would have a “welcome to Lough Derg” theme, and the centre would provide visitors with information on the likes of walking and cycling routes, accommodation options, and food establishments, together with information on the history of Lough Derg.

It is not clear whether the words “fountain auditorium, in which” mean that the audience would be sitting in the pool or around it. The site was to have a “gift shop and café”. It expected to have 25,000 visitors in 2012 and 40,000 by 2016, after which it would move to permanent purpose-built premises with “a more comprehensive exhibition on Lough Derg”.

Alas! The proposed widening of the R494 road from Birdhill to Ballina, to serve the new bridge over the Shannon, would mean the loss of the space on which visitors’ coaches were to be parked. So, although the project received conditional planning permission on 16 May 2012, the promoters, Glance Promotions Ltd, withdrew their application shortly afterwards. However, that does at least suggest that they were not having any problem in providing the funding, which is good to hear in these difficult times.

* The relevance of the title of this piece will be clear to the many admirers of the oeuvre of the 4th Baron St Oswald.


Upward-only rent reviews

Upward-only rent reviews seem like one of the more insane inventions of recent years. But I suppose that, if you’re the landlord, they’re a Good Thing. So what are the ten marinas that have UORR leases from Waterways Ireland? Answers on a postcard please ….

h/t Peadar Tóibín (Meath West, Sinn Fein), who brought this interesting waterways issue to light.


Stakhanovite homoeroticism

I see in the blatts — well, the Sunday Business Post, actually, although I do realise that other newspapers are read in the servants’ hall — that the Twelfth Lock Hotel at Blanchardstown, on the Royal Canal, is to be sold by public tender on 1 March 2012. No estate agent — the only contact details are for a solicitor and a FRICS FRICI, which means a surveyor (I think) — so there is nothing on tinterweb.

The Twelfth Lock Hotel

The hotel is described thus:

Unique Hotel Opportunity

‘THE TWELFTH LOCK HOTEL’, Castleknock Marina, Royal Canal, Castleknock

Purpose built, 10 Bedroom Hotel, with Loune Bar/Restaurant, private Lounge, Beergarden/Smoking Patio, outer garden and private car park. In unique setting alongside the picturesque Royal Canal Marina.

Older folk will note the link to this story.

I stayed in the hotel once; it was fine. I’ve been in the bar a few times, and noted three things. The first was a range of beers that was wider and better than most Irish pubs serve (which is admittedly not saying much). The second was that the bar food was tasty and served in generous quantities. The third was the mural (I’ve cropped the lower part of the photo to omit the customers) of chaps building the canal.

Twelfth Lock Hotel mural

The hotel is in a wonderful location, off a quiet road but close to the railway, the M50 motorway and the Wonderful O of the junction with the Royal Canal crossing in the middle.

Crossing the Wonderful O


Boat descending the twelfth lock (a double). The building on the left at the top is the hotel


Across the canal are flats is where the Blanchardstown Mills stood; the site has unsuspected depths.


I don’t really know the status of the “marina”. It seems to consist of a short run of pontoons with gated access. I think it’s a good idea to have such an arrangement; perhaps something similar could be done on the Grand Canal.

The marina (2005)

The marina (2009)


But who runs it and controls the allocation of spaces? I don’t know: although the gateway seems to have Waterways Ireland branding, there is also this sign:

Castleknock Marina sign

Its website doesn’t seem to have changed much for several years and the “How goes it” page, showing progress in raising funding, doesn’t seem to work. There is a hire firm too.

Hire firm

It would be nice if the hotel, marina and hire firm were to continue in operation.




Consultancy fee? No, it’s OK, thanks ….

How A N Other and I saved the Irish waterways … or at least suggested how Waterways Ireland should approach British narrowboaters.