What a few months it has been since our last update; packed with change and reaching a major milestone. So what have we been doing?  How about, chart making, training, charts updated, new database introduced, assisted in rescue and recovery, give a number of presentations to Branches, continued surveying and the release of the beta version of the charts for testing.


One of the issues the CSIG has had from the start is that the number of people capable of producing the charts was very limited. It was recognised as a problem, but having made a number of attempts, we never actually succeeded in improving the situation, that is, until we faced a situation where no one had the capability. Then Brian Willson stepped up, spent a few very hard months on a steep learning curve and just at the start of the new year felt he was sufficiently up to steam to pass on the skills he had learned. A course was organised and six of the CSIG team turned up for the training. Brian had done excellent work preparing templates for all of us to use, so that all the charts produced in the future would have the same feel and look. To say it was a brilliant day is an understatement, and now six of us are merrily working our way up to steam. For the techies amongst you, we use an application called Global Mapper, running under Windows. We trace shorelines and other interesting items, such as locks, roads, buildings and harbours using a digitiser function against a world imagery map which is fully georeferenced, and comes with the Application. The resulting polygons are then filled in with the detail from the CSIG templates and saved as suitable output to the MemoryMap application that is used for display and navigation.


Of course, this new situation of having multiple maps being produced by different people and potentially updated by different people as well, produces a new set of problems for storage and release. We have to date been using a Shareware product called Dropbox for storage and distribution of data between us all, but there are some serious issues with the product for our use. A big failure is that should anyone delete a file it deletes it for everyone, leaving the administrator, hopefully, to recover the situation. Version control was very difficult, which would likely be very serious when we reached the distribution stage. So between Brian and Colman (our IWAI webmaster), a new data base system was introduced enabling good version control and safe storage, of what is now very valuable survey data collected by our surveyors, and charts produced by the mappers.


This tragedy began to unfold shortly after 1600 on Thursday March 20th.  Six anglers in two small boats set out from Hodson Bay for a weekend of pike angling. They made their way towards Carnagh Bay, as they rounded Yew point they encountered strong southwesterly close to Whin Island, the boat was swamped by a large wave and sunk beneath the three-man crew.  Daryl Burke, David Warnock and John Trimble found themselves in the cold waters of Ballybay Lough Ree.

The RNLI launched from Coosan Point. They recovered John Trimble and David Warnock. Unfortunately David later died in hospital.  Athlone Sub Aqua launched their ribs and began to search for Daryl. They followed a debris field that stretched across the lake from Yew point to Inch Mor. Covering an area of some five square miles. No sign of Daryl. They searched until nightfall.

Next morning we began what now had become a recovery operation, searching with sometimes as many as twenty-seven divers. The Garda underwater unit and the Navy were also involved.  The search was coordinated by the Gardai and each evening a debrief meeting was held in Bay Sports at Hodson Bay. Garda, Navy, Civil Defence, Fisheries, Kayakers, Dog Handlers, Athlone Sub Aqua Club and representatives from other Sub Aqua Clubs were involved in the search.

From the beginning CSIG charts were used and marked up to show the area dived or surveyed so far. Pat McManus (from CSIG) marked the area dived each day by placing a waypoint at each of the shot line or jackstay marks which had been put in place by divers. This gave an overall picture of the area dived and searched each day. The information that had been given as to where the boat sank proved inaccurate, so Pat and another boat used their SideScanners, widened the search area, and eventually after many days located the boat standing with its stern and engine on the lake bed and the bow pointing upwards. This proved pivotal in finally locating Daryl and returning him to his family after sixteen long days. R.I.P.

Pat’s very detailed surveys of this area meant the CSIG charts were by far the most accurate available and the other responders such as the RNLI, Civil Defense and Gardai were astonished at their accuracy. Furthermore, Pat’s extensive experience of working with the Athlone Sub Aqua divers proved very helpful as well. Well done Pat.


Les was delighted with an invitation to the Northern Ireland Branches to give his presentation on the activities of the CSIG. The talk was held in the Lagan Island Arts Centre in Lisburn and around sixty people turned up from a number of Branches across the North. The plan was to present for about an hour, but the constant questions and interest shown extended the time to an hour and forty minutes. The feedback has been good, and contributions have been made to help the CSIG in its efforts, many thanks, guys.

A second presentation was given to the Cruising Club at the Ferry Inn in Portumna where around twenty members attended. Les was a bit quicker there given that a really nice dinner was due to start as soon as he finished. Many thanks again to the Cruising Club for their contribution to the CSIG funds.


Now, what you have all been waiting for. It was really exciting to finally announce a major milestone that the CSIG has been striving for since its inception about two years ago. A Beta Release of the charts from Limerick City to Lanesboro has become available for ‘testers’ with a view to a general release in the autumn of this year. We have put a call out to the Branches and at Council for ‘testers’. When we have sufficient interest (nearly there), we will run a short course on how to install the charts and run them on whatever kit you may have (laptop, IOS or android smartphone or tablet capable of running MemoryMap), have you sign the disclaimers and run through the questionnaire we would like answered. So if you wish to try them out for us, please email me (barge41m@yahoo.co.uk) and express your interest.

Have a great summer on the water and stay safe.


One of our surveyors was approached and not very delicately asked why the charts were not available yet given the amount of money the group had been paid to produce them. I want to calrify where the funds go in the CSIG. All funds go to a separate bank account run by the Derg Branch of the IWAI. Funds are only used to purchase essential equipment and software, and for NOTHING else. Hardware bought to date include 4 GPS units, 8 Transducers, 4 Lithium battery packs and some mounting stainless steel brackets. Software purchased includes two licences of Dr. Depth, and 4 licences of Global mapper, all purchased at an education rate. Not all surveyors avail of the CSIG kit with some purchasing all of their own kit, including Side Scanners and GPS units, monitors and indeed their own copy of the software. There is no reimbursement for fuel used or time spent, both of which can become substantial.

In the case of this particular surveyor, he was using all of his own privately purchased equipment and software, and his fuel costs alone are in the region of many thousands of Euro per annum. The areas to be covered are enormous and when coupled with the duty of care we apply, substantial time and effort is needed to make progress. The CSIG considers this to be at least a ten year project. So understandably, he was a little bit upset by the approach. At least you all now know, so please respect our surveyors who do enormous work, and all voluntarily.

© Les Saunders 2014