Pride of place this week for Sheephaven SAC was the news that club member Anne Boyle has qualified as a Monitor 3 with the Irish Underwater Council (CFT).
CFT delivers its Scuba training through a structured programme of instruction provided for by four grades of instructor in the organisation, M1 to M4.
While the M1’s and M2’s deliver courses and subsequently examine the dive candidates the M3’s role is to set the exams and promote diving in Ireland, while also guiding the direction of CFT as dive practices change and develop.
This guidance is provided through the CFT Technical Committee, to which the M3’s are invited to participate under the leadership of the National Dive Officer.
Any recommendations from the Technical Committee will then go before the CFT Council and possible ratification at a later stage and it is into this area of influence that Sheephaven’s Anne Boyle has now entered as a result of her successful completion of the M3 programme.
Anne’s M3 journey did not begin this year, it a compilation of a long diving career and possibly a 1,000 dives that began in 1985, when she availed of a unique opportunity in Galway, after the two Higher Education institutions – GIT and NUIG – in conjunction with Galway SAC were involved in training Scuba Divers to be a part of establishing an Aqua Farming course in GIT.
When Anne subsequently returned to Donegal in 2003 she joined Sheephaven SAC and completed her 1 Star Diver programme and followed that up with her 2 Star Club Diver grade and subsequently by 2007 in becoming a Leading Diver.
The next stage for Anne was the Instructor programme, staring with M1 in 2008 and the M2 qualification in 2009.
Anne has given huge service back to both her club and CFT by taking on the Sheephaven Dive Officer post from 2007 to 2010 and since then she has been the Clubs Training Officer since 2010, while from 2010 to 2012 Anne was the CFT Northern Regional Dive Officer.
The process of M3 examination has four modules, the first involves 4 written papers, next the presentation of a paper in NUIG to an audience of M3’s and the Jury President, the third module involves an in-water fitness test of a 1500m snorkel followed by a 1,000m snorkel in full dive kit.
The final module, under the guidance of Jury President Dave Jackson, took place last week in Inishbofin Island off the Mayo coast, where the five M3 candidates conducted a series of dives commencing with 3 dives on Thursday to depths of 30m, 20m and a night dive respectively, with a fourth dive on Friday to 30m that included a rescue lift to 6m, which was then followed by a 40m dive with a narcosis test.
When not diving the candidates was expected to refill air tanks, refuel boats and as always on these weekends deal with random mock incidents designed to keep everyone on their toes.
Clearly all this requires a major logistical effort from examiners, boat operators and accommodation providers.
The weekend was centred in the Doonmore Hotel, Inishbofin hosted by Andrew Murray and his staff, which by all accounts provides a service not to bettered, while Aidan Day put the divers on their locations from his hard boat.
At the end of the weekend CFT had five new M3, Gearoid Mc Carthy Monaghan, Ger Haugh Kilkee, Dave Hearne Hook, Finbarr Murphy Blackwater and of course our own Anne Boyle from Sheephaven SAC. Well done to one and all.
Meanwhile back home Sheephaven have three M2 candidates preparing for their final assessment, which will hopefully keep the succession of Instructors going well into the future.
Finally the bread and butter of Sheephaven diving continued over the weekend with boat dives on Saturday and Sunday, thanks to Kevin Boylan and Terry Kennedy respectively, with an extra special mention to John Joe Rowland for towing on both occasions.
As always the snorkelers put out from PortnaBlagh on Sunday morning and even if the surface conditions were not as nice as of recent past, in-water conditions were very good with excellent visibility and warm temperatures.