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.
Following regular communications between CFT and the Irish Coast Guard regarding members supporting the ongoing search in Blacksod. Last week the Irish Underwater Council CFT National Search and Recovery officer put out the call requesting Search and Recovery units around the country available to assist in the planned co-ordinated search that took place last weekend. The planned search was a dedicated surface search covering the coastline from Blacksod, Co Mayo to Aranmore Co Donegal. This search area was broken down into eight zones. Blackwater Search and Recovery confirmed our availability and four other search and recovery units were designated to the Killala Search zone in North Mayo. The logistics in arranging the trip to Mayo began with sorting accommodation, ensuring both boats were shipshape and ready to go. Nine members of the search and recovery unit made themselves available to travel for the weekend. Departing the Club house Friday afternoon with the two club ribs in tow began the five hour drive to Mayo. On arrival members travelled to the launching area to review the slipping facilities. Launching early on Saturday morning before the search briefing by Killala Coast Guard Unit eight boats departed Killala Harbour to the designated area. With over a hundred boats taking part in the overall search, the professionalism by each area co-ordinator was visible from the start and throughout the day. The members of Blackwater search and Recovery unit that travelled were looked after so well by all that we met in Ballina and Killala and especially by the local Coast Guard unit there. Following the days search the call came through that the search was complete and units could stand down. With boats back on the trailer the drive home began. Thanking the club members that were available to travel. Our thoughts and prayers go out the families, friends and colleagues of the members of Rescue 116 and we that all are brought home soon.
On diving matters and the long weekend upon us club members Graham Burke and Eamon O Herlihy are planning some diving on Saturday and Monday if any members are wishing to go please contact the dive officer of the day.
It was with a heavy heart that the club heard of the passing of club member Walter Fleming late of Lavally Upper mallow recently, the club would like to extend our sympathy to Walter’s family and friend at this time. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam
Olan O Farrell, Judith O Brien, Dick Vaughan, Eugene Whelan, Finbarr Murphy, Gearoid O Looney, Timmy Carey, Matt Culloty, Kenneth Barry at Killala Coast Guard base Co Mayo
Blackwater Search & Recovery host inter-agency event
Last Saturday members of Cork North Civil Defence Unit attended an inter-agency training event with Blackwater Search and Recovery. These training events are very beneficial for all involved as it gives all an opportunity to be familiar with each others equipment for search events. Cork North Civil Defence recently upgraded their Sonar Scanning Unit and added an underwater camera unit. Both of these are essential in the searching of waterways speeding up the time required on site. Using both scanning units side by side gives a great opportunity the try various setting while comprising the results at the same time. Saturday training was the ideal activity for both groups that have similar systems at hand. As part of the Voluntary Emergency Services group these training events are encouraged to build up working relationships and strong knowledge base of each group. More of these activities are planned for the next number of months to allow additional members the experience of equipment familiarisation of both groups. The new underwater camera used gives search teams an opportunity to view scanned targets prior to deploying divers to the spot in question.
Friendship Week – Blackwater Search and Recovery unit will be attending the upcoming event this Saturday in the old Mart Car Park with all the other emergency responce agencies in the locality, this event gives members of the public an opportunity to see and learn about the work carried out and the equipment used by each service. So why not come along to the “Meet And Greet Event” as part of Friendship Week 2017.
Diving - taking the advantage of the fine weather over the weekend, on Saturday club divers travelled to cork harbour and enjoyed a slightly chilly dive on the Westwick wreck. Water temperatures were 9 degrees at sea, despite some choppy sea’s the dive was enjoyable for all. Sunday divers travelled to the lee fields on the Carrigohane Road and enjoyed a 30 minute dive again with water temp of nine degrees
The club would like to take this opportunity in thanking Fermoy Triathlon Club on the recent presentation to the recovery Unit. As like any other voluntary club fundraising is a task that is getting very difficult. Donations to the Unit are always received with great thanks and appreciation.
Some of the participants at Saturdays Inter-Agency training L-R Dave Carey BSAR, John Maunsell Civil Defence, Olan O Farrell BSAR Sinead Maunsell Civil Defence, Eugene Whelan BSAR, Kenneth Barry BSAR
Members of Fermoy Triathlon Club Making a presentation to Equiptment Officer Olan O Farrell and Treasurer Judith O Brien.
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.
L/R Catriona Matthews, Declan Curtain Mon1 CSAC,Pat Hurley Mon2 Army, Ken Barry, Susan Vaughan, George Goggin, Dick Vaughan D.O. Blackwater SAC
A blustery Oysterhaven was the location early Sunday morning for club secretary Kenneth Barry, to undergo his Coxswain examination after extensive period of training throughout the year. Despite Force 4 to Force 6 winds with two metre swell, Blackwater SAC member Kenneth proved high standards once again were maintained throughout a three hour extensive examination. Arriving early, BSAC dive officer Dick Vaughan, Susan Vaughan, Catrina Mathews, George Goggin and Kenneth Barry arrived early to prepare the rib and diving equipment before examination would begin.
“The candidate must take full responsibility for the launching, operation, control and recovery of the dive boat during a normal dive day, together with the dropping off, covering and recovering of divers in usual dive weather”. Patrick Hurley Mon 2 Examiner from the Diver Army Group together with Declan Curtin Mon 1 Instructor Cork SAC were well prepared to test the Blackwater SAC candidate from the start.
After launching the boat, carrying out all pre-launch checks and ensuring everyone was properly equipped to go to sea, the test was soon underway in choppy seas. Over the course of three hours, Kenneth would have to demonstrate competence in carrying out man-overboard procedures, towing and disabled craft, anchoring, high speed handling, mooring, general seamanship, reversing, turning in a tight space, compass navigation, figure of eight and U-turn manoeuvre’s both forward and reverse and most importantly picking up divers Dick, Susan and Catrina Mathews.
On completion of the practical assessment, Kenneth began his theory examination showing proficiency in chart work, tides, currents, weather forecasts, ropes and knots and finally completing his examination with knowledge of an emergency situation at sea.
All club members would like to congratulate Kenneth who is an invaluable part of the Blackwater Search and Recovery Unit and proving again, high standards of training are paramount within the club. Examiner Patrick Hurley noted also after the examination “Great to see such skill and knowledge displayed on a very testing day (the unfavourable sea conditions were a test in themselves). Kenneth is a credit to himself, his club and his Instructors”.
Annual Church Gate Collections
Members of Blackwater Search & Recovery Unit would like to thank the Fermoy community who supported our annual church gate collection last weekend. We are grateful for the tremendous support that is received from the public.