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.
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.
Matt Culloty and Timmy Carey preparing for a night dive in the Blackwater Rive
In May 2014, twelve Blackwater club divers took part in an ecological study on the river Blackwater to look for freshwater crawfish. At that time, the study was considered a success, as two healthy crawfish were found during the night dive. Much of the Blackwater has soft acidic water even though alkaline hard water is generally needed for a freshwater crawfish to secrete a new exoskeleton. Therefore, to find a healthy crawfish (which looks like a miniature lobster) was a great discovery.
Last Tuesday night, two club divers, Timmy Carey and Matt Culloty completed a night dive in the same location and were astounded to find ten healthy crawfish in the same stretch of water. Most importantly, these crawfish are considered an ecologically important species, proving to be a great sign. Freshwater crawfish are declining in numbers in much of Europe with Ireland now having some of the most important habitats for the species.
Coxswain training completed during difficult weather conditions
With strong gale force winds at sea during the weekend, Sunday was used to good effect, where a group of divers headed for Crosshaven to log some hours in rough sea conditions inside Cork Harbour. Organised by Timmy Carey, club coxswain candidate’s Kenneth Barry and George Goggin practised techniques such as high speed handling, reversing, tying alongside a pier and mooring, man overboard, transits, compass work and towing. Both club members will soon be ready to undergo examination with external examiners. Well done to both Kenneth and George and best of luck with your examinations.
Annual Church gate collections
Blackwater Search and Recovery Unit church gate collections will be held week ending 17th & 18th September in Cappoquin and Lismore also week ending 24th and 25th September in Fermoy. As with every organisation, fundraising is always difficult, but we are always grateful for the tremendous support that is received from the public.
With the date closing in on, to the 28th of August and rafts beginning to be designed or redesigned from last year’s outing. Club members are hard at work in preparations to what is expected to be a great day out for all participants. Club members have travelled the course recently to ensure there are no new hazards that may obstruct the course for the rafts. Currently the river level is low so were are encouraging all rafters to ensure that their build has a shallow draft. We all are hoping for a fair rise in water levels and will be monitoring this closely. Looking back on last year’s event and the great crowds that filled the lovely Barnane walkway enjoying the styles and floating fun. While many of the spectators were kicking themselves for not getting involved and registering for last year’s raft run, now is your time to get planning and building your raft. For registration and sponsorship cards contact Ken on 0861018424. For those that enjoyed the spectacular event last year, this year we will have additional entertainment for you all. “The IV” which is an up and coming young local band has confirmed that they will be at the event to keep us all entertained for a while. Other preparations are ongoing and again the local wheelie boat will be on hand for some short river trips. Keep an eye on social media for more details for the day. The event safety officer Tim Carey will be on site ensureing all rafts are safe and of sound structure before allowed on the water so we ask all participants to ensure your raft is solid and firm in construction.
Lord Mayor Chris O Leary, Deputy Chief Executive ESB Jerry O Sullivan, Noel Hayes, Matt Culloty Blackwater Search and Rescue
By January of this year, most of the funding was in place, selling one of our existing RIB’s was really important in moving ahead with this project; however we still faced a shortfall, and by now most of our traditional fund raising activities had taken place. We had no choice but to commit to the placing of the order of a new RIB, put faith in the committee and the fund raising officer to secure the remaining funds.
Our Fund Raising Officer, Matt Culloty placed an application to The ESB , Energy for Generations fund to support the purchase of the search and rescue boat.The Energy for Generations fund supports the work of not-for-profit organisations, charities and community and voluntary organisations whose work falls under the following areas: educational access and support; suicide prevention; and care of the homeless.
Each year, ESB awards funding to approximately 150 projects across Ireland. They call it Corporate Social Responsibility; essentially they are funding projects which should be funded by our Taxes. ESB has donated over €10m to charities across Ireland in past ten years – and €1m in Cork city and County. Thankfully this year, Blackwater Search and Recovery was awarded €4000 to complete the purchase of the dive Boat. On Friday last, at Wilton, a presentation was made by ESB deputy chief executive Jerry O Sullivan, in the presence of Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Chris O’Leary to Noel Hayes (Search and Rescue Southern Regional SAR Coordinator) and Matt Culloty (Fund Raising Officer). We would like to thank Jerry, his team in the ESB, in particular Anne Cooney, Group CSR Coordinator for this welcome donation. We expect delivery of the RIB within the next 2 weeks.
On Sunday, two of our trainees, Alex and Catrina took part in their final preparations for their club diver test, which will take place next weekend. Best of luck to both , and thanks to the instructors Maurice Carroll and Noel Hayes for the work put in, getting candidates to this level of proficiency.
For further information www.blackwatersubaqua.ie or find us on Facebook.