Sheephaven Sac

For Sheephaven SAC last week it was all about the wonderful news that two of the clubs’ divers achieved Leading Diver grades with the Irish Underwater Council (CFT).

Paul Mc Cabe and Simon Henderson have been studying and training for their examination of this grade for the best part of a year and for them last Saturday saw the deserved recognition for all that hard work.

The Leading Diver grade or 3 Star is the highest examinable diving grade in CFT, the next grade National Diver or 4 Star is awarded after a Leading Diver has completed a further 100 dives. A Leading Diver will be considered to be competent to lead diver parties across a range of dive types and take Club divers to depths of over 30 metres.

The examination of Leading Divers involves both an academic and physical demonstration of the candidate’s competency and a yearlong continuous assessment of different elements of dive organisation, which culminates in a weekend of assessment by a Jury of CFT instructors.

The academic element of assessment involves a morning of written tests in the early summer, which demonstrate that the candidates have sufficient knowledge of the theory of diving to progress to the next stage of the process.

This involves a series of in-water tests which tests their water fitness levels, showing that they are fit to dive. Then during the summer months the Leading Diver candidates lead dives both within their own club and at other clubs, during which there are critically assessed.

As part of their continuous assessment during each of the internal and external leads a mock incident will test their ability to manage any emergency that might occur on or in association with a dive.

By the end of the summer months a candidates will have successfully completed all theory and practical pre-requisites, including certificates in Diver First Responder, Coxswain and Rescue Diver, at which time they will go forward to the Leading Diver Test weekend.

This year the CFT Northern Region Leading Diver test weekend was conducted in Killybegs, taking full advantage of all the boat handling and accommodation needs for the 6 candidates and their 12 examiners.

The examiners operated under a jury system lead by a Jury President, who last weekend was Jason Keegan. Six of the examiners were themselves under assessment as they attempted to progress from the initial instructor M1 grade to M2 by attending a prescribed series of juries.

The candidates were from Sheephaven SAC, Donegal Bay, Dundalk and Kish SAC’s, while the examiners represented Sheephaven, Donegal Bay, Naas, Seal Bay, UCD and Kish SAC’s along with the National Diving Officer Dermot Moynahan and Regional Diving Officer Gearoid Mc Carthy who were also in attendance over the weekend.

The format over the weekend involves 3 dives, the first on Saturday to 40 metres, followed in afternoon by another to 20 metres, with the third on Sunday morning to 30 metres. The forty metre diving is particularly testing because once settled on the sea bed the candidates take off their mask and take out their Regs, to demonstrate that they can cope with such a situation should it occur during a dive.

Between the first and second dives and later on Saturday afternoon the candidates are examined at a number of stations on practical subjects such as knots, CFR and Chart work. In previous years there were six stations to be conducted on Saturday, but this has been changed to a separate day being provided to conduct three of the stations prior to the test weekend.

After all of the preparation, training and examination Paul and Simon where considered to be more than capable of safely lead other divers and were awarded their Leading Diver status on Saturday, a decision that in their case was never in doubt to everyone that has been part of their journey over the last year. Well done once again.

Finally Sheephaven SAC wishes to extend their good wishes to two club members who thankfully are on the mend after a bout of poor health and we hope to see Robin Law and Lynn Weir back in the water again in the not too distant future.