Blackwater Sub Aqua Club was founded in 1981 and is based in the town of Fermoy in North Cork The club is affiliated to the Irish Underwater Council (Comhairle Fó-Thoinn or CFT) which was founded in 1963 and is the co-ordinating body for underwater diving clubs in Ireland. CFT is the representative body for Ireland in the World Underwater Federation (Confédération Mondiale des Activitiés Subaquatiques or CMAS). This is the world federation of national diving organisations and operates in some 80 countries on all continents.
The qualifications you receive as a member of CFT are recognised the world over
We have 40 members varying in qualification’s from Diver * to that of Instructor grade Moniteur ***
An Integral part of our club is the Blackwater Search and Recovery unit. Consisting of 26 search divers and support personnel. Further information can be obtained under Search and Rescue Section.
In recent weeks, the Blackwater search and recovery unit have begun training in all areas of search & rescue, with last Wednesday being the start of the Side Scanning Equipment Workshopslectured by Kenneth Barry and Olan O Farrell. Since we purchased the side scan, our unit have become proficient in deploying, scanning and interpreting the results through hard work and determination. The idea of using the side scan sonar is to identify potential targets, which divers then dive to further identify. This is an efficient use of manpower and resources and also eliminates the areas which previously may have taken days to cover.Thanks to everyone who has supported the search unit for many years!
Last weekend, eight divers travelled to Athlone for the Irish Underwater Council A.G.M. and also to attend the Dive Ireland Expo which was held in the beautiful settings of the Hodson Bay Hotel. Diving clubs from all over Ireland including diving retailers descended on this annual event hosted by the Athlone Sub Aqua Club. All who attended were spoilt for choice with underwater photography workshops, Seasearch Ireland spoke about identifying, recording and logging species,The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group who spoke passionately about a slightly bigger marine animal, the elasmobranchs and cetaceans in Irish waters, technical diving, guest speakers Barry McGill - A Tale of U-boats and Minefields, Brian McAllister- Raising the Costa Concordia and Martin Kiely – In Search of the Galapagos Hammerhead just to name a few. On Sunday, divers attended Irish Underwater Council A.G.Mwhich was then followed by the Search & Recovery conference. Attending the event on behalf of the Blackwater SAC were Noel Hayes, Finbarr Murphy(past president of C.F.T.), Ken Barry, Catrina Mathews, Matt Culloty, Mike Reidy, Paul O Dwyer and Stephane Portrait.
TRAINING COURSES: Advanced Nitrox Diver will be held this Saturday, 11th March. Please book your place using COMS on the CFT website.
Finbarr Murphy and Catrina Mathews at the Dive Expo in Athlone with Brian McAllister who was the diving supervisor on the largest salvage project ever undertaken for the raising and removal of the 120,000 tonne cruise liner, Costa Concordia off the cost of Italy.
Matt Culloty, Paul O Dwyer and Mike Reidy checking out the latest diving equipment at the Dive Expo last Saturday
Deborah Morris and Catrina Mathews discussing the latest dive gear for the ladies at the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone
Blackwater trainees progress strongly
With the arrival of Storm Doris last week, sea conditions were treacherous with force 10 winds recorded by Met Eireann. Blackwater Instructors were keep busy with in-house workshops, both for search & rescue and technical diving skills, the continuation of lectures and pool-workfor trainees andon Saturday, CFT members from clubs around Ireland attending courses held by the Blackwater SAC. With a third of the lectures and the first course of pre-requisite pool work complete, the new members are proving to be very competent and committed. Lectures by Instructors Matt Culloty and Noel Hayes will consist of CPR and buoyancy for this week followed by pool-work to complete this week’s training.
Last Saturday, club instructors Noel Hayes and Finbarr Murphy held a day long course for divers to qualify as Diver First Responder, DFR Recertify and also continuation of CFR Instructors ongoing assessments from clubs Daunt, Cork,Athlone, UCC, Limerick and the Blackwater Sub Aqua Club. Both Noel and Finbarr are the only divers qualified to run this course in the southern region and divers from other clubs attend for qualification. A cardiac first responder has completed the P.H.E.C.C. (The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council) standard of education and training in cardiac first response at the levels of CFR responder. The standards outline the care management of major life-threatening emergencies, including heart attack, cardiac arrest, foreign body airway obstruction and dealing with stroke attacks as well as competency in AED use for both adults and children.
UpcomingTraining Courses: Advanced Nitrox Diver and Extended Range Nitrox Diver will be held on Saturday, 11th March. Please book your place using COMS on the CFT website.
Weekends Away: Catrina Mathews will be club diving officer for the first of the dive rallies beginning with the Southwest Dive Rally hosted by Kerry Sub Aqua Club from Friday, 19th May to Sunday, 21st May in Cahersiveen. Please contact Catrina to book your place and hopefully the weather will be as good as last year!
EXCITING AND BUSY NEW YEAR AHEAD FOR BLACKWATER DIVERS
With the new diving seasonwell underway, the Blackwater Sub Aqua Club have been extremely busy during the month of February with the welcoming of new trainees. Lectures and prerequisite pool work for the next eight weeks must be completed before heading out to the deep blue coastline of Cork Harbour.
Lectures covered include equipment and its use, hand signals which is the primary method of communication underwater.Snorkel equipment and techniques, out of air situations, dive physics which covers the understanding of air, pressure, behaviour of gases, vision and sound. Without this knowledge, divers wouldn’t be aware of any pre-warning symptoms while diving. The club are strong in experienced divers and instructors who are able to complete all lectures in-house, giving club training officer Joost Vanmuysen full support in assisting with this year’s course.
Club chairman Timmy Carey held a meeting with all club members to discuss this year’s diving plans. The meeting proved very successful with a calendar full of weekends away including undived wrecks further afield. Providedwe have good weather, this year might be hard to beat. Search and Rescue officer Noel Hayes held a meeting also to discuss search and rescue, search and recovery training for current search divers and incoming divers.
With last Sunday’s weather forecast looking quite good, diving officer Graham Burke planned a single dive to the City of New York steamship just off Daunt Rock. Meeting at the club house, dry coxswain Kenneth Barry completed all checks on the rib before departing for Crosshaven. With buddy checks completed, seven divers enjoyed a thirty minute dive with temperatures of 9 degrees(a bit chilly) to a depth of twelve metres. Unfortunately the visibility wasn’t great but all divers were just delighted to get a dive and enjoyed plenty of jokes from club diver Eric O Neill. Best all luck to a group of divers from the club heading out to the Galapagos Islands for a diving trip.
Training Courses: The Blackwater SAC will be playing host to the following courses – Diver First Responder and Diver First Responder Recertify this Saturday, February 25th. Advanced Nitrox Diver and Extended Range Nitrox Diver March 11th. Please book your place using COMS on the CFT website.
Advanced Diving Workshop – Part 4 : Blackwater SAC would like to invite divers from all grades to the next Advanced Diving Workshop on Friday, 24th February at 7.30pm. Meeting at our clubhouse topics discussed on the night include Survival Strategies and Deco Station.
Timmy Carey with Great Southern Sign
With sea conditions deteriorating last weekend with Force 4 to 7 winds, Blackwater diver Timmy Carey decided to examine previous year’s river dives and organised a trip to one of the three sisters, the River Suir, Cahir, Co. Tipperary.
Divers Timmy Carey, Gearoid O Looney, Alex Brown and Catrina Mathews headed off early Sunday morning to investigate the current underwater conditions under the Viaduct adjacent to Cahir Bridge. With safety checks completed, dive plan discussed, divers began a forty minute dive in three metres of water with 17 degrees temperature.
It was apparent from the beginning; the river bed had plenty of life from crayfish, brown trout, mussels and a keen-eyed kingfisher keeping an eye on Alex Brown as he surfaced. It was soon discovered while under the Viaduct (opened in 1852), Timmy Carey discovered a complete Great Southern and Western Railway sign in perfect condition. Examining the sign, a group of locals began to remember the unfortunate train disaster which occurred on 21st December, 1955.
The train concerned was a 32-wagon laden beet special from Waterford to Thurles via Limerick Junction. At the time of the accident, the Up platform (the station building side) was occupied by a mail train. The beet train was routed into the loop, but as the rear of the mail train was fouling the crossover at the Limerick end of the station, it was not possible to let the beet back out on to the main line. Instead, the points were set for the short siding which ended just before the bridge. The beet train ran through the buffers at the end of the siding at about 30-35mph causing the locomotive and 22 wagons to crash through the floor of the first span of the bridge into the River Suir below. Sadly, the driver and a fireman died in the accident.
L/R Gearoid O Looney, Timmy Carey, Alex Brown, Catrina Mathews
Also discovered during the dive, was a Doulton Lambeth ceramic ink bottle and unfortunately a damaged old cast iron CIE sign. Many thanks to Timmy Carey for organising an unexpected dive full of discovery, history and meeting the locals in Cahir.