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Development of Technology with Search and Recovery

Development of Technology with Search and Recovery

Over the past year the Blackwater Search and Recovery Unit have being successfully training and gaining quality experience with the Side Scanning equipment purchased through the hard work of the clubs fundraising work and local grants and contributions..  The side scan technology used by Blackwater Search and Recovery will assist in the future in their work on searches local rivers and the southern coastline when requested by the authorities such as An Gardai Siochana or the Irish Coast Guard.  Under Search and recovery Diving Officer Dave Carey The team initially concentrated on familiarising themselves with the equipment and software to establish procedures and settings for the best possible results.  This was assisted by the testing of an alternative trial setup file from the supplier. When reverting back to the original setup file using varied data transfer speeds, scan and speed setting it was agreed that scanning against the current was giving the optimal control of scans.  The group also practiced with the handheld GSP unit for the dropping of shots in order that dive teams on recovery were positioned in the correct location.  Recently Blackwater Search and Recovery completed a full scan of the upper stretch of the river for Fermoy Rowing Club in order to identify potential underwater hazards of submerged trees for the safety of their crews. Following any large flood more trees fall and some lodge on the river bed while others flow through the stretch,  many have seen such large trees get stuck on the weir from time to time,  the coaches and crews are now able to continue training in a safe manner.  This new technology of the search and rescue unit has being a great time saver for the coaches who regurlary surveying the surface,says Rowing Club Chairman Pa Granville. 
The Club continues to progress in training its members for all aspects of diving as a pleasure sport but also as a Search and Recovery Unit.  Ongoing training continues with the Winter Evening Lectures organised by Training Officer Graham Burke.  The next lecture is this Friday night with a lecture on Coast Guard Diver Rescue Protocols by Adrian O Hara Winchman with the Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter based in Waterford.  Other ongoing in-house training nights are planned for the next coming weeks.  The next in-house training night is on January 28th will be covering GPS and VHS all club members are welcome to attend. 

Last Saturday in cold conditions a group of Search Divers, Graham Burke, Judith O Brien, Finbarr Murphy Peter Mullen, Stéphane Portrait took to the water for a fitness training swim from Lismore Castle on the Blackwater River to Dromana Gate on the Finisk River covering over 10km.  The group under the watchful eyes of Olan O Farrell and Peter Whelan providing safety cover.  The swim also completed the annual fitness swim for Judith and Finbarr, a requirement of CFT Irish Underwater Council.











A Section of the images from the SideScan Sonar showing marked potential submerged trees for the Rowing Club so that they can be removed from training areas of the River.


At Dromana Gate following the Fin Swim l-r Noel Hayes Stéphane Portrait Graham Burke Peter Mullen Olan O Farrell Peter Whelan


 Judith O Brien completing her annual fitness Swim