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In this section you will find articles on pleasure dives that have taken place with the Blackwater Sub Aqua Unit. 

Other Archives Items can be found in the downloads section accessible here.

Search Training takes Place

On Sunday morning last a fast flowing river Blackwater was the perfect venue for the search unit to complete a periodic search and recovery training exercise and it was great to see such a large turn out for the event.
Over a busy few hours a  number of varying different types of swim lines searches were practiced; where a group of 3 to 4 divers work as a team while having a rope link between them and radio communications from the divers to the surface support on the riverbank.
While this sounds quite straight forward; the reality is to become an accomplished search diver in these patterns in fast flowing water is a hard earned skill and one which a lot of divers never get to master; but a technique that we use extensively very often within the search unit for recovery operations.
After a tough few hours, a thorough debrief was held by search unit officer David Carey as these exercises ensure the search teams skills are sharp when on operations. Thanks to everyone who turned out on the day and took part.
 Search divers on a training exercise in Fermoy last weekend (from left to right) Olan O Farrell, Graham Burke, Peter Whelan, Gearoid O Looney, Matt Culloty, Eamonn O Herlihy, Noel Hayes, Elden Keegan, Maurice Carroll, Timmy Carey, Dick Vaughan, Alex Brown, Eugene Whelan and David Carey


                                                  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.


Blackwater Search & Rescue Unit obtain a new Coxswain

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.