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Lifeboat and diving club in joint exercise on Lough Derg

Friday, 14th June, 2019 9:18am
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Lifeboat and diving club in joint exercise on Lough Derg

Photograph by Bridget Delaney

Lifeboat and diving club in joint exercise on Lough Derg

Photograph by Bridget Delaney

Members of Lough Derg Sub Aqua Club and the Dromineer-based RNLI lifeboat service teamed up for a joint exercise on the lake recently.

The 'Sea Survival' course involved a workshop of short lectures followed by the water-based exercise. The workshop was developed in conjunction with the RNLI to improve diver safety at sea. It aimed to refresh diver safety skills as well as teach some techniques for improving chances of being located on the surface.

The course also represented a training opportunity for the lifeboat crew to locate and rescue divers from the water. The exercise involved the use of both group's newly-acquired state-of-the-art boats, the RNLI's 'Jean Spier' and Lough Derg SAC's 'Flo Jo'. It furthermore represented an experience-sharing opportunity for these two local groups that provide a hugely important voluntary service.

The workshop was developed in association with the British Diving Safety Group, which is formed from all the major training agencies including the Irish Underwater Council as well as the HSE and Coastguard. The overall aim of the workshop is to reduce serious incidents and fatalities at sea.

Topics covered included an introduction to the role of the Dive Officer and the importance of dive planning using charts, weather and tide information. Equipment checks and personal fitness was also discussed, as was navigation and safety kit for boat dives, including an overview of the use of such equipment as lifebuoys, handheld VHF radios, flares, etc.

There was a section on out-of-gas emergencies and the importance of an alternative air source, as well as one on the diver's means of calling or signalling for help, and visibility on the water surface. The final section looked at some basic procedures to follow to best ensure survival at sea.

Thanks to RNLI and Lough Derg SAC member Stephen Smith for overseeing the course, and to Lough Derg SAC members Eileen Finn, Michael Hogan and Tom Shaw for facilitating the lectures.

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