Navigation in Lough Foyle
(information from Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners -Foyle Marina Guide 2012)
• Reference should be made to the Irish Cruising Clubs ‘East and North Coast of Ireland Sailing Directions’ ISBN 9780955819919 or Admiralty sailing Directions NP 40 Irish Coast Pilot. Admiralty Chart No 2510 Covers Lough Foyle and the River Foyle.
• Lough Foyle is a wide expanse of water covering some 179sq km with an average depth of 5meters and extending to 15km width in places. A maintained channel with depths of 8m runs from Greencastle to the commercial port of Londonderry at Lisahally. The channel runs close to the shore on the Donegal/Inishowen side of the Lough (West). The channel is well marked with beacons and flashing lights though mariners are advised that the channel shelves suddenly if you leave the channel and there are large expanses of shallow sandbanks within the lough. Tidal data should be studied and care should be taken whilst navigating in the channel. Appropriate scaled charts and electronic navigation aids should be utilised.
• Large commercial vessels use this channel on a daily basis and leisure boat users are reminded not to impede their passage. A listening watch on VHF Ch14 must be maintained when using the channel. • The lough is also a popular sailing area, please be aware of other users especially sailing boats competing in races. • The Lough sustains a commercial shell fish economy, be aware at certain times of the year large volumes of fishing vessels will be working the area and these vessels may turn suddenly.
• The Lough and river are tidal, significant currents may be encountered. Particularly following large tides or periods of heavy rainfall care should be taken to avoid flood debris such as logs and trees.
• Though generally well sheltered the Foyle can become choppy, particularly in wind against tide situations. Winds from the Southwest on a flooding tide can produce short steep waves all along the river and lough.
• The lough is an important eco system and home to many birds, fish and marine mammals. Please do not throw any garbage into the sea.
• On passing the port of Londonderry care should be taken if large commercial vessels are manoeuvring. These vessels may move erratically and tug boats may also be in the vicinity. Keep well clear. • From the port to the city is a 4km cruise, passing under the impressive Foyle Bridge (32mtrs), the channel remains marked with port and starboard beacons. As you pass under Foyle Bridge the full splendour of the city will come into view with its gothic buildings, bridges and modern architecture all on view. The Citys new ‘Peace Bridge (2011)’ provides a majestic backdrop to your moorings at Foyle Marina.
Wild Life on the Foyle
(Information from Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners –Foyle Marina Guide 2012)
The River Foyle is a tidal river, rising high in the mountains of Donegal and the hills of Tyrone and Derry. Fed by mountain spates, the Foyle system enjoys good runs of salmon and holds a thriving wild brown trout population. The river supports a host of wildlife – otters are regularly seen and a multitude of ducks, geese, swans and waders winter here. The tidal mudflats of Lough Foyle and the croplands bordering this wide estuary offer shelter and winter sustenance to wildfowl from as far afield as Greenland and Iceland – brent and white fronted geese , whooper swan, widgeon, teal and shelduck. Waders stitch their way across the invertebrate rich mudflats as the tide falls, the wild cries of wildfowl and wader evoking their high north summer breeding grounds. In summer, mackerel and herring visit the lough, followed by predatory tope (one of the shark family). Another shark, the basking shark, is a much more genteel character, lazily foraging for plankton in the currents at the mouth of the lough. Porpoise are frequent visitors to the lough and dolphin are often seen in the Atlantic waters off this coast