History of KBSR

Print Sunday, 17 July 2011 09:36

History of a service developed by the community for the community


by Ted O’Connor, Co-ordinator KBSR





In May 2001, Killaloe Ballina Search & Rescue (KBSR) was established & registered as a company.  The unit was formed to provide a volunteer search and rescue service throughout Lough Derg in response to a number of accidents and fatalities occurring on the lake.


The unit’s main focus in its infancy was diver operations.  This quickly changed when a Dorey craft was donated by Waterways Ireland.  Members were trained to a high standard under the ISA Powerboat training syllabus.  In or around 2003, the unit purchased a larger craft, the Noose Cat (Call sign - KB1).  Over the years the unit has provided valuable assistance in response to many missing person callouts and calls to assist vessels on the lake, which built up valuable experience that enabled the unit to form and build a reliable and effective service.


The initial diver operations were assisted by members of Nenagh Sub Aqua Club and Limerick Sub Aqua Club.


The extensive training programme focused on Diver Search & Recovery activities & proved to be a challenge (not to every recreational divers taste).  A group of committed divers remained with the unit & have been instrumental in its development to date.


In 2006, KBSR (Rescue) was recognised by the National Coastguard Service and after conducting an extensive evaluation process,  this element of the unit was brought  under their umbrella.  This new Killaloe Coast Guard Unit then became the first Inland Coast Guard Station:


As the Coastguard do not provide a dive service internally, it was decided to re-register KBSR with the notable change to diver operations and retain its identity as Killaloe Ballina Search & Recovery.


This is a smaller unit as the majority of crew transferred to the new Killaloe Coast Guard Unit.  The existing re-registered KBSR operates as a club, which is supplemented by a small number of local business people and community donations.  Representative members of the community sit on the Board Of Management to oversee the running of the clubs activities and assets.


The club has been established as a non-profit members club whose income solely derives from charitable donations and fund raising activities.  The funds raised are used for operational activities including fuel,  boat and equipment maintenance and new purchases etc.


All our divers use their own personal equipment and it is standard practice to use the Interspiro Divator Full Face Diver Mask with integrated communications.  Therefore, there is a significant cost investment from individual divers who become members of the unit.


The Noose Cat (Call sign - KB1) is still in service with the unit in 2011 and is an ideal craft for Dive operations. 


Our current Unit consists of:-


A Management Board of 8 members.

An Operational Group consisting of 6 divers and 4 crew.

An intensive training programme is undertaken on a fortnightly basis during the winter season in the lake and, on a monthly basis during the summer months, as the divers are engaged in regular recreational diving activities, which compliments their training and experience.  The training is also supplemented by pool related exercises undertaken at Lakeside Hotel Health and Leisure club in Ballina.