Do I need a licence to drive a boat?

For river Shannon boat hire, Shannon –Erne Waterway and Lough Erne you do not need a licence to drive a crusier.

Do I need to be experienced?

No experience is necessary. All of the river Shannon boat hire companies we represent will provide with full tuition until they are comfortable that you can navigate the boat.

What is the minimum period I can hire a boat for?

The standard minimum period is 3 nights . For most of the river Shannon boat hire companies the next shortest period is 7 nights however some of the boat companies will allow you to hire for a shorter period, ie 4, 5 or 6 nights. Please contact us is you wish to book for a period of this nature and we will quote you accordingly.  These trips are of course subject to availability and are typically booked two weeks in advance of a trip.

What is the minimum age for operating a cruiser?

The minimum age to hire a cruiser on the river Shannon is 21.

Can I take a pet on board?

You can but only certain river Shannon boat hire companies will allow this and only on certain cruisers. The companies that do allow this charge a fee which is usually in the range of €100.

What are the collection and return times?

Seven nights really means six and a half days as the boat can be collected from 16:00 and must be returned by 09:00 on the last day. For short breaks most companies will allow a 14:00 collection.

Can I hire a boat at any time of year?

The river Shannon boat hire companies operate from March to October only. If you wish to hire a cruiser outside of this period please contact us and we will provide you with the best options available.

Payment terms?

Payment terms with all of the cruiser companies is 33% of the boat hire fee to confirm the booking and the balance is paid six weeks before the cruise is due to begin. For short breaks the full hire fee is required to confirm the booking.

How do I Pay?

At Discover the Shannon we can take payment by credit card, bank transfer or cheque – cheque payments should be made at least six weeks before the cruise is due to begin. Our payment details and terms will be sent to you on our booking form.

Added costs?

The two main added costs are fuel and damage costs. The fuel cost can range from €100 – €150 per week and is paid for at the end of your trip. A refundable damage deposit is required in advance of your trip and can vary between €350 and €1,500 depending of the choice of cruiser. This can be made using cash or credit card. This cost is fully refunded to you upon return of an undamaged cruiser. Some companies offer a non refundable damage waiver option instead of a damage deposit, this is generally a much smaller cost but is non refundable.


All river Shannon boat hire companies are fully insured against damage however each boat contains an excess which is equal to the refundable damage deposit. Your belongings are not insured so you may need to take out separate travel insurance for these items.

Do I need a fishing license?

Depending on which part of the river you are cruising, you may need a licence. If a licence is required you can usually buy this from the cruiser company. Live bait is not allowed on the boat at any time.  A license is required to fish on the Erne.

How do I arrive at the marina?

All of the river Shannon boat hire companies that we represent provide a transfer service from the main airports to their marinas. These typically cost between €65 and €80 per person for the round trip, one way transfers are available for approximately half the price.

The Boat

What’s on the boat?

The boats are fully supplied with everything you need to live on board. All boats will have bathroom and shower facilities and choosing from four berth upward most boats will have two or more. The river Shannon boat hire companies take great pride in providing a luxury experience and every boat will be provided with fresh linen, towels, cooking utensils, cutlery and crockery, etc. There will also be a fridge, cooker and oven and grill on board.


All of the boats have 12v cigarette lighter sockets for charging mobile phones or laptops, although you’ll need to bring your own adaptor. Some of the larger boats have limited 220v outlets, and some have special low-voltage hairdryers, televisions and DVD players.

Life jackets and safety?

Life jackets are provided for and the marina staff will be happy to help fit life jackets for children. Fire extinguishers and fire blankets are also kept on board.

How fast do the boats go?

The maximum speed for most boats on the Shannon is about 10 knots. Perfect for relaxing and unwinding.

What about mooring the boat?

Free mooring is usually provided in every town along the Shannon however there are some private marinas that do charge for mooring. In Athlone there is a small charge but this mooring is supervised.

Locks Times?

Guides to lock times will be supplied to you by the cruiser companies. They will also instruct on how to use the lock system. All of the 16 locks along the Shannon–Erne waterway are automatic but you will need a swipe card to use them. These cards are provided for by the cruiser company.
All locks are operated by lock keepers and cost €1.30 to pass through.

The opening hours for the locks are:

  • March to Early April: 9:00 to 18:30 on weekdays, and 10:30 to 16:00 at weekends
  • Early April to late September: 9:00 to 20:30 on weekdays, and 9:00 to 18:00 at weekends
  • Late September to early November: 9:00 to 19:30 on weekdays, and 10:00 to 16:00 at weekends
  • Early November to March: 9:00 to 12:30 on weekdays, and 10:00 to 12:30 at weekends

Other sources of information to help plan your trip.

If you require any Angling information or information on fishing in Ireland please visit the following websites.



For Uk and European Boating Holidays www.Discoverwaterways.co.uk

Discover Ireland

Waterways Ireland

Inland waterways association of Ireland

Tourism Ireland

Shannon Development

Fermanagh Tourism


Lough Derg Gardens

My Carrick


Fishing in Ireland

Midlands Tourism

Real Boyle

Discover Belturbet

Fermanagh Lakelands 


Frixo (Directions and traffic reports)


External Insulation

Bamboo Toothbrush

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Our Offers

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