River Festival 2019

As part of this years river festival Branch 5 sent two boats and a tug of war team down to New Brighton to take part in the event.

There was one boat on the waters of marine lake, with some brave members demonstrating their low visibility diving skills, and another on the side with other club members collecting for the RNLI and selling try dives.

A big thanks to Chester SAC for jumping in at the last minute to take part in the tug of war. The best of three pulls was close but the practice Branch 5 gained against the RNLI at New Year paid off and they took the day 2-0. Hopefully the edge was taken off the defeat by the food laid on back at the clubhouse for everyone.

Thanks to everyone from the club who gave up their time to to take part and to collect for the RNLI. Update to follow on the amount raised.

News Letter May 2019

Chairman’s Letter

Hello Again Folks…..Let me move straight on with further ado to the most pressing matter that is Dave Edward’s ‘Summer Bash’at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club, on Saturday, 8th.  June 2019.  Whilst the price of £38 per head may seem steep the doors open 3pm and children are welcome for a mere £7 per person, albeit that they should be off the premises by 9pm.  There are various entertainments all afternoon including a bouncy castle for the kids.  The evening ‘scoff’ is a full self service buffet, the theme being food from places around the world the club has dived.  We are assured this is a real banquet and should not be missed.  In addition, Dave has obtained the services of a singer for your entertainment.  Now the point is while many members have put their name down for the event you have also been painfully slow in ‘coughing up’ the cash.  So please do pay Dave in the next week or so.  Moreover, numbers have to be finalised by week commencing the 2nd. June, therefore you need to act now to avoid the disappointment of missing a great night.

Speaking of things coming up at short order, it is the Festival of the River on Sunday, 2nd. June 2019 and we should have another tug-of-war contest at New Brighton.  My understanding is that the event is likely to take place about 2.30pm. Two boats are going to promote the Club and Try Dives and collect for the RNLI so we would like volunteers to help from about 11.30am. We will put one boat at the entrance to the car park near the Fort and launch the other into the marine lake.  The tides are bad that weekend so why not lend your support to our team and raise a ‘few bob’ for the RNLI at the same time.  Also, while not certain, I am fairly sure there is a food and drink fair at the back of Morrison’s that same weekend.

Another thing on the horizon which I meant to mention last night is the prospect of Thursday evening diving, such as this coming week.  The tides really are excellent for an afternoon dip if you can free yourself from work or retired like me.  So for example, on Thursday next the meeting time would be 1.0pm on the beach, diving about 4.0pm and back to the club for 7pm.

Looking at the club in general, I am very pleased to tell you that the membership of the club (currently 120+) continues to grow slowly thanks to the efforts of the training team and our Communications Officer, John Rice, who certainly know how to pack them in, particularly amongst those who either fell out of diving or belong to other agencies. When you think that it was only a few years ago that the membership fell to around the 70 mark, so this really is a real achievement, well done.

Finally, turning to the Refurbishment/enlargement of the interior club space there is no real progress to report, in that we have done everything asked of us by the council with regards to plans and calculations, but it seems that we might be at the very bottom of their undoubted busy agenda.  At the recent committee meeting it was agreed that we should review our position at the July committee meeting.

Finally, with the diving season now upon us make sure have a great year and don’t forget to complete the Nitrox log in the boat shed when you are filling your bottles.  Safe diving!  

Best regards
Alan Jones
Chairman

AED Course April 2019

BSAC Automated External Defibrillator SDC

This club night Chris Woods again ran the excellent AED course for first timers and as a refresher for those members who had done it before. This is a course with lots of practicals and plenty of opportunity for everyone to use the clubs training equipment and dummies to practice this life saving skill.

AEDs are getting to be more and more common and can be found in many public places. They are a valuable add-on to BLS/CPR and this course teaches their use and promotes the confidence to potentially save a life!

BSAC Automated External Defibrillator (AED) SDC is a course that isn’t just relevant to diving – you could save someones life.

Contact Chris Woods for details on future courses.

First Aid for Divers March 2019

BSAC First Aid for Divers SDC

Another very enjoyable course run by Chris Woods this weekend with the help of Garry Bolland. The practicals in this course are always fun and those from this course were no exception. Plenty of practice tending to a variety of symptoms using anything to hand.

Great turn out again for this SDC, with lots of members having their first go as well as plenty returning as a refresher.

The BSAC First Aid for Divers SDC is a one-day course that teaches the basics of non-resuscitation first aid likely to be needed in the diving environment. There is lots of practice on the course giving you the confidence to give first aid in a real emergency. It includes making use of the resources likely to be available at the time including improvisation of dressings and splints using materials and equipment commonly found at the dive site or in a boat.
If you already have first aid training, this course is a quick and easy way to ‘practice, practice, practice’ your skills, while learning the best way to apply them in diving.

Contact Chris Woods for details on further courses.

Oxygen Admin Course March 2019

BSAC Oxygen Administration SDC – March 2019

Another successful Oxygen Admin SDC was run by Chris Woods this weekend, ably assisted by Garry Bolland. The classroom was full with plenty of club members doing the course for the first time as well as a number returning for a refresher.

The course Chris runs is heavily biased towards practical sessions giving everyone plenty of opportunity to select the right equipment for the situation as well as to assemble and use the kit correctly in a variety of simulated scenarios.

Although the course has a serious side everyone enjoyed a fun day practicing with both the club kit as well as Chris’s own personal kit.

A successful day was rounded off with everyone passing the exam at the end of the course. Good result all round.


The BSAC Oxygen Administration SDC has a mix of classroom-based and practical lessons, teaching:
• Basic life support
• Use of the pocket mask
• Oxygen and diving incidents and how they benefit from oxygen
• Casualty assessment
• The use of oxygen administration equipment

Contact Chris Woods if you are interested in any future courses.

Quiz and Curry Evening March 2019

Quiz and Curry Evening
March 2nd 2019

This years early Easter quiz and curry evening was an amazing success. A big thanks to everyone that came and made it such an enjoyable evening.

Competition was fierce but in the end the Majors team won by more than ten clear points, sweeping up the star prize…. along with a fair few of the many raffle prizes !

Someone always has to loose and unfortunately this year it was Steve Barnes team that scooped the wooden spoon of shame trophy.

The chilli and vegetable curry went down well and there were no reports of food poisoning so looks like we got away with it.

As well as being about having a good time the evening was to collect funds for the club. In the end the between the quiz, raffle and bar about £500 was raised so thanks again to everyone involved in running the evening and everyone who came.

Derbent & Cartagena Weekend July 2019

Derbent & Cartagena Weekend

Date: 19th July to 21st July 2019
Trip Manager: John Rice

The Derbent is at 45m so is dive leader & above only. The Cartagena is at 30m so can be dived by Sports Divers with progression signoff.

Staying in Amlwch and using the facilities of John Gill’s Adelphi Vaults and Amlwch Diving Services. Launching from Bull Bay with a maximum of 12 Divers.

There is a sheet on the notice board for anyone interested. A deposit of £25.00 needed asap.

Farne Islands Weekend July 2019

Farne Islands Weekend

Date: 12th July to 14th July 2019
Trip Manager: John Rice

Returning to Springhill Farm Pods and chalets for accommodation, and mooring the RIBs at North Sunderland Harbour with the potential use of another Billy Sheils 10 diver RIB if numbers require.


Sports diver & above as its a Neaps weekend and we will aim to dive the Somali, Abyssinia & Chris Christenson wrecks whilst there.

Deposit of £30.00 as soon as possible.

There is a sheet on the notice board for those interested

M2 Bank Holiday Weekend Trip May 2019

M2 Bank Holiday Weekend Trip

4th May to 6th May 2019

An opportunity to dive one of the very best wrecks in UK waters. At 30-35 metres, this experimental Submarine had a sea plane and waterproof plane housing on its forward deck. Sadly somebody forgot to seal one of the doors, and 26 lives were lost.

Diving will be with Skindeep Diving Charters in Portland on a hard boat with a tail lift. Accommodation will be a bunkhouse near the dive centre.

Contact John Rice for more details.

Chartwork and Position Fixing SDC May 2019

Chartwork and Position Fixing SDC
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th May 2019

By popular demand there will be another running of the BSAC Chartwork and Position Fixing SDC in May this year. This course builds on the Boat Handling SDC and helps towards the Diver / Coxwain assessment.

The course involves a number of classroom lectures and practical exercises followed by time out on the river putting it all to good use.

There is an entry sheet on the notice board if you wish to take part. A
£25 deposit will be needed before the end of January.

Stoney Cove Trip January 2019

Stoney Cove Progression Diving – January 2019

A group of new Branch 5 sports divers went off to Stoney Cove in Leicestershire last weekend for two days of progression diving under the expert guidance of Alan Jones.

Kelly Baird, Kate Mills, Chris Mills, Dave Roberts, The Major and Dave Barlow

With the help of Martin Campbell, John Dunne and Robbie Edwards all five were put through their paces. The water was cold and although the visibility wasn’t too bad down to about 25m it was pretty poor at the bottom. But everyone coped and by the end of the weekend all had been signed off to 35m.

Accommodation on Saturday evening was at the Mill on the Soar. An excellent inn less than a mile from the quarry with great rooms with breakfast at a very reasonable price. Everyone enjoyed an extended evening meal, a few well earned drinks and a lot of laughs.

Really enjoyable weekend was had by all even if the water was only 6 degrees. Certainly showed who had the best undersuits !

Newsletter January 2019

Chairman’s Letter

Happy New Year everybody and welcome to the start of yet another year of diving with Branch 5; could be as rasper!  We are barely two weeks into the New Year, but already the pace is picking up with the Annual Tug-o-War against the Lifeboat crew on New Year’s Day.  This led to our inevitable defeat though managed to raise something just short of £500 (for the RNLI) and certainly served to raise the profile of the club.  Since then there have been a welter of quarry dives as members train and prepare themselves for the sea.  Obviously, the Dive Calendar is not yet complete but the following provide a snapshot of what will be on offer and is by no means complete, here goes:

  • 19/20th. January 2019 – Stoney Cove, Sports Diver transition dives to 35 meters
  • 10/17th. May 2019 – Malta with Divewise/Techwise
  • 8/9th. June 2019 – Liverpool Bay
  • 14/17th.Jube 2019 – Pembroke with Archaeological Nautical Society diving the Abbercastle
  • 29th. June – 6th. July 2019 – Rosas, Spain with Fleet Divers.
  • 12/14th. July 2019 – Farnes
  • 26/27th. July 2019 – Anglesey (diving SS Durbant)
  • 24/31st. August 2019 – Red Sea
  • 20/22nd. September 2019 – Oban

And just too wet you appetite even further, I am looking to run a full trip to Scapa Flow in  2020 and for those with deep pockets Truk Lagoon in 2021….watch this space.

Turning to equipment, the club has just purchased three Apex training DV’s complete with ‘octo’ regulators.  Towards the back end of last year we also bought a new Lawrence Chart Plotter/Sonar combo to replace the one on the Viking which was found to be full of water.  As a matter of some urgency both boats and the club compressor will be serviced in readiness for the new season.

Training needs continue, specifically Skill Development Courses (Accelerated Decompression Procedure, Chart work) have featured quite heavily in the last three months and will be followed by Compressor Operations, Mixed Gas Blending, Boat Handling and Rescue Management during the coming months.

On the social front I am looking to arrange ‘The Major’s Late, Late Easter Bash’ on Saturday,27th. April 2019.  At the moment I have neither decided on a venue or whether to run it in combination with something else, such as a clay pigeon shoot, go-karting or ‘Ghetto’ Golf at the old Cain’s Brewery in Liverpool.  In addition, I can tell you that Dave and Robbie Edwards are hoping to run a full blown BBQ at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club during the summer and are presently liaising with the caterers.  Also by popular demand this year’s annual dinner will be a similar format at the same venue as last year.  Again we are negotiating over the date, although it is bound to be sometime around mid-November. Just to let you know the annual dinner raised £900 and the Late, Later Xmas Bash £260 for the club, thanks for your support.

One of the things to come out of the club’s AGM in November was an agreement between you the committee that we would put forward a submission for the Heinke Trophy (BSAC’s prestigious award for the most outstanding Branch).  Now the application is retrospective, in other words for the current year, so it is important that we all work towards this goal, which means collecting photographs and short reports and forwarding them to our co-ordinator John Rice.  He has recently taken on the mantle of Communications Officer and is very aware of the need to raise our profile, particularly through community engagement.  One of the things he has organised through Facebook is a ‘Try Dive Bang’ which will be ‘splashed’ across the ether and entice punters to a Try Dive event at Guinea Gap on the 31st. January 2019.  I am sure you will appreciate that this may well attract a bevy of new members and also, most importantly, some great publicity. This could then be extremely helpful and used to support any future application for Sports Council money etc.

As you are probably aware the ‘bold’ Chris Mills has taken over the responsibilities for developing our website and he now sends you the following missive:

          ‘Over the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to tidy up the existing website, updating out of date details as well as trying to get details of recent events published. Mainly to show visitors that the club is active as well as to pass on details to club members who may have missed them.

 I have now installed an events calendar on the site with links to most of the up and coming events I can find details for. I really need help with this going forward if it’s going to be useful. If anyone plans an event; diving, training, social or anything else could they please send me some details. Ideally a few words on the event, dates, organiser details and if possible, a photo or two relating to the event. (Basically, the details that would normally go on the sheets that are put on the notice boards) I will add this to the events list and calendar on the site. If this could be followed up with a very short report following the event, again with a photo or two this would also be appreciated.

I’m more than happy to take any updates for the site in any format; paper, disk, memory stick etc but have also set up an email address for anyone who wishes to send them electronically. The address is content@merseydivers.com

Going forward I’m looking at updating the look and feel of the site. This is a spare time project so is likely to take a few weeks to complete. During this time there is likely to periods, hopefully short ones, where the site will be offline or not work as it should. Apologies in advance for this and many thanks for any help you can give with content for the site’.

That’s it folks and not before time I hear you say, but there is really a good deal going on which I wouldn’t like you to miss.  Safe diving.

Alan Jones
Chairman

Red Sea Trip August 2019

Red Sea Trip

Date: 23rd to 30th August 2019
Organiser: Tony Fitz

Leaving from Manchester Airport on 23rd August and flying to Hurghada on the Red Sea. Staying at the The Three Corners Rihana Inn, El Gouna.

Six days diving has been organised with Emperor divers, including one day on the Thistlegorm. Two dives a day including air and weights with an option to pay for a third dive each day. Nitrox available for an extra charge.

All the diving places have now been filled. Contact Tony Fitz for more details.


 

Archaeology Field School June 2019

Nautical Archaeology Society Archaeological Field School
7th – 17th June 2019

The Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS), the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) and Bangor University are currently collaborating on a project to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War and the shipping losses which occurred around the Welsh coast.

The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and, as part of the project, the Nautical Archaeology Society will be running a FREE field school at Abercastle in Pembrokeshire from 7th – 17th June 2019. The field school will be based around the wreck of the SS Leysian. If members of your dive club are interested in participating in the field school and bringing along your club boat to dive the site over the course of the field school, please contact us for a booking form at: MADUdiving@gmail.com

The field school will be based and run from Garn Isaf in Abercastle where there will be FREE air fills. For the duration of the field school, camping will also be FREE at a 15-pitch camping site. However, pre-booking is required. To check availability and to reserve a pitch, please contact: Ian Cundy on: 01684 574774

For anyone who doesn’t want to camp, there are also B&B facilities on site, but these are not free and would need to be booked and paid for directly, see: https://www.garnisaf.com

FREE training will be provided during both weekends of the field school for people who have not previously attended a NAS recording and surveying course, and FREE additional specialist courses will also be run during the field school upon demand and should weather condition preclude diving activities.

The Leysian was a 4,703 ton steamship taken into service as a prize of war by the British – 400ft x 52ft x 27ft (121.92m x 15.85m x 8.23m). She ran straight into the cliffs in poor visibility on 20th February 1917. The site today is suitable for all diving abilities lying in 8-16m of water, close to the cliffs and only around 600m from the beach and slipway. The site is in the shelter of Abercastle bay, protected from all but winds from the NW through to E, and diving is possible at most states of the tide.

* There will be a £10 per head / night deposit required when booking the camp site which will be refunded following the field school (providing you turn up for the period booked).

There is a branch participation list on the notice board. Contact John Rice for more Details.

Amlwch RIB Trip May 2019

North Anglesey Wreck Trip

Date: 24th to 26th May 2019
Organiser: Tony Fitz
Dive Manager: Rob Edwards

As part of his Advanced Diver qualification, Rob is managing two days of wreck diving out of Amlwch, North Anglesey, in May 2019.

There will be three nights camping at Mountview Caravan and Camping park, starting Friday 24th May. Three boats will be going and so there should be space for 16 divers. All grades of diver will be catered for.

The entry list is up on the club notice board. £25 deposit required before 24th April.

Contact Tony Fitz or Rob Edwards for more details.

Menai Boat Run 2019

Menai Boat Run 2019

After incredible support from BSAC clubs around the UK, sadly the 2019 event had to be cancelled due to extreme weather conditions. In all, 43 boats entered and their donations raised £2,000 for the Beaumaris RNLI, which was gratefully received by the volunteer crew.

Thanks must go to the organizing crew, Sophie Heptonstall, Dave Parry and Chris Holden from Chester Branch and of course Paul from Dinas Boatyard, who, without his support, this event could probably not happen. Thanks too, to David O’neil from the Caernarfon Harbour Trust and Jamie Johnson from Plas Menai, who were really helpful with their support and advice.

Mixed Gas Blender SDC 2019

Mixed Gas Blender SDC

Alistair Reynolds is looking to run the BSAC Mixed Gas Blender SDC in the near future. This will be a Thursday evening course consisting of theory sessions followed by practical involving filling cylinders using mixed gas.

This course is open to Sports Divers and above and is limited to 12 places.

The cost of the course will be £60 each. A Mixed Gas Blender Q-Card is included in this cost as evidence of your skill level. 

Anyone interested should add their names to the sheet on the club notice board. 

Mersey Diver CCR Try Dive

CCR Try Dive

Date: January 24th 19:30 to 20:30
Organiser: John Rice

Simon Fryer will bringing his CCR units to club and will be able to offer 4 CCR try dives in the hour available on club night. The cost will be £26.10 each diver.

Simon will hold further sessions if there is sufficient interest.

Contact John for a place.

BSAC Compressor Operator SDC

Organiser: John Rice
Date: 19:30 – 21:30 Thursday 10th January

Another opportunity to learn to how to safely fill your own cylinders, and assist others with their tanks too. Alistair Reynolds will be running the course over a few weeks with the theory sessions delivered in the clubhouse, and the practical sessions in the compressor room/boathouse.

The theory side of this SDC has now been completed and practical sessions are taking place over the next few weeks.

Anyone interested in this course should contact Chris Woods to check when it will be run again.