Waterways Ireland is responsible for over 1,000 kilometres of inland waterways in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This cross-border body is responsible for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of operational waterways throughout the island of Ireland.
Living on a boat
While few people in Northern Ireland live permanently on boats, you might want to enjoy life on the water for some periods of the year.
Living on a boat won't always be the ideal world you expect. Although generally less expensive than living in a house, there are many costs and pitfalls that you might not have considered. You will need to think about:
- buying the right boat
- finding somewhere to moor it
- getting a licence and insurance
- boat maintenance and repairs
- utilities and heating costs
The Waterways Ireland website has useful information about living on a boat. The FAQs section offers advice for boating on Lough Erne:
Q: Is there any law for the mooring of a boat on its own mooring in the sheltered area of the Lough Erne system?
A: You should contact the Lough Erne Warden by telephone 028 6632 2836 and the Rivers Agency who administer the bed and soil and accreted foreshore of the Erne Estate, telephone 028 6638 8529
Q: I am thinking of buying a cruiser and would like to moor it on Lough Erne. How do I this and what is the approximate cost?
A: Contact the Lough Erne Warden by telephone 028 6632 2836 for advice on bye-laws and vessel registration. You should also contact a yacht broker for advice on a suitable vessel and information on berthage in the area
Q. Do I have to register a boat before using it on Lough Erne?
A. You have to register your boat before using it on Lough Erne. Download the form on the Waterways Ireland website and send it to the Lough Erne Warden. There is no cost to register your boat. If you purchase a boat which is already registered, you still need to make the warden aware about change of ownership.
Advice for buying the right boat
- boats are advertised by specialist brokers and by private individuals through the pages of several monthly magazines and websites
- always get a boat professionally surveyed
- boats do not appreciate in value like bricks and mortar do
- a top of the range new boat can cost a six figure sum
Finding a mooring
On the waterways, managed by Waterways Ireland, there are strict rules about moorings. You must genuinely travel around the network, not just cruise back and forth in the same area. For example, on Lough Erne you can buy private moorings, but you must move on after every 48 hours when using public jetties.
Boat maintenance and repairs
There are boatyards around the waterways that will carry out work for you.
You should budget to lift the boat out of the water once every three years to check and maintain its hull.