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Home arrow Latest News arrow Press Release - Irish Water Safety (IWS) award to HBA - Nov 2010
Press Release - Irish Water Safety (IWS) award to HBA - Nov 2010 PDF Print E-mail
22 November 2010


Heritage Boat Association
“Celebrating Ireland's Floating Heritage”
PRESS RELEASE .......... IMMEDIATE .......... Nov 23rd 2010
The Heritage Boat Association (HBA) is delighted to learn of the Community and Social Responsibility award by the Irish Water Safety body to their Child Welfare Officer, Irene O’Neill, acknowledging the Association’s new "Safety Sam" programme.
The HBA is the representative body for Heritage Boats on the Irish inland waterway system. These include the Grand Canal Company and CIE barges, some now being over 100 years old and many of which ply our rivers and canals as family boats.
Given the size and weight of these craft, safety is very much to the fore for all crew members but, in particular, for children.
It was felt that a special programme should be devised to address matters of safety - and so "Safety Sam" was born and has become part of our ongoing Child Welfare promotion.
Further details of the Safety Sam Programme are below.
Paul Martin
Chairman HBA
Tel: 087 2523908
Safety Sam Takes to the Water
This year the Heritage Boat Association (HBA) launched a safety programme for our junior members. The programme is part of an exercise to promote general safety awareness in children, under the responsibility of the HBA Child Welfare Officer.
The two characters in the programme are Sam (a careless 8-year old girl who likes green lollipops) and her brother, also conveniently named Sam (a careless 10-year old boy who has cool hair!).
And so, Safety Sam was born……….
Over three days of the Association’s summer cruise on Carnadoe Waters in County Roscommon, Safety Sam tackled the issue of safety in and around locks. There was a teaching class with the Juniors on Day 1; a practical test on a moored barge on Day 2; and finally, a practical test on boats underway on Day 3. In addition to water safety, the Juniors had to get permission to do the course, let family know when they were setting off and when they had finished.
Everyone was very keen to earn Safety Sam’s Merit Badge!
On Day 1, the chart-size cartoons showing “what not to do” were very amusing to the Juniors, who spotted all the careless things Sam was doing – looking backwards, arms and hands in danger of being trapped, holding ropes incorrectly, and lots more………
Day 2 took place on ex-Grand Canal Company barge number 72M. Under the watchful eyes of Ronnie Byrne, skipper of 72M, each Junior inspected the decks of the barge and wrote down all the hazards which were lying around: boat hooks, ropes, fenders, mop, anchor. The list was endless and the place was a mess - Ronnie really should be more careful!
On Day 3, our Juniors travelled on three boats - namely 72M, Aqualegia and Vicki-May - on the 4-hour trip from Grange Harbour to Carnadoe Bridge to put what they had learnt into practice. They were required to helm, read navigation charts, use ropes, read the weather, use the VHF, etc. Many people gave very generously of their time and expertise, particularly skippers and crews.
Everyone joined in, ate their packed lunch, had fun and – most importantly - learnt about practical safety.
And finally………. the Safety Sam Merit Badge was awarded to every one of the group for participating in all stages of the programme, and for demonstrating an acceptable level of skill with regard to safety on the water.
Believe me, they earned it!
Irene O’Neill
HBA Child Welfare Officer


Last Updated ( 02 December 2010 )
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